Visualizing The Population Bomb

Friday, September 18, 2009

Today, I am posting my students’ reading visual responses to an excerpt from Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb written in 1968. This excerpt is included in one of our course texts American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau edited by Bill McKibben.

Here’s one:

Population Bomb Alfonso 002

These drawings are responses to assigned readings, and students follow format guidelines I’ve developed from Dan Roam’s The Back of the Napkin.  Here are the actual assignment guidelines.

I wanted to share this group of drawings for three reasons.

First, I think they’re pretty amazing drawings, especially for students in a sophomore-level college research and writing class.

Second, I think they nicely demonstrate the variety of visual formats available to illustrate Ehrlich’s argument.

Third, I am noticing that as students are gaining experience in using the basic formats I’ve taught them, they are beginning to combine or integrate formats into a single drawing.  For example, several of the drawings in this sample combine pie charts and timelines or maps and timelines.  This level of sophistication was unanticipated by me, but it’s clearly representative of their abilities to draw their responses in more complex or advanced ways.