A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

What if the largest states of Australia had the biggest populations?

Saturday, 04 December 2010 | 2 Comments

You might have seen this map featured around the place recently:

What if the largest countries had the biggest populations?

So I wondered, what if the largest countries had the biggest populations?

The map is interesting, and I wondered how we could complete an activity like this in class. So, a more achievable activity is to map a similar map for Australia. That is, What if the largest states of Australia had the biggest populations?

Conveniently, Wikipedia has the data required in one easy spot: States and territories of Australia.
Geoscience Australia has a Outline map of Australia.

The worksheet below provides a scaffold for students to complete the activity.

Here’s the answer:

State Area (km2) Population State
Western Australia 2529875 6967200 New South Wales
Queensland 1730648 5297600 Victoria
Northern Territory 1349129 4279400 Queensland
South Australia 983482 2163200 Western Australia
New South Wales 800642 1601800 South Australia
Victoria 227416 500001 Tasmania
Tasmania 68401 344200 Australian Capital Territory
Australian Capital Territory 2358 219900 Northern Territory

Map of Australia with biggest populations moved to biggest states

Update See also some extension ideas from Joshua Harnwell on

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License (?).

Posted in • ActivityLesson IdeaNumberMediaDiagramPrintableWorksheet | Short URL:


Liz Hemmings on  04 December 10  at  08:00 AM #
I like this activity simon, one that makes them think and also makes area a little more meaningful. Will try and do this before end of the year - even though I am not doing this topic it could be good as a one of interest lesson in the lab with year 7.
Nordin Zuber on  18 December 10  at  04:52 AM #
What would be great is if we had an easy tool to redraw the internal borders to preserve the positions of the states, but shrink or grow them so their areas are proportionate to their population size. I wonder what tool might do that ... perhaps put them on a grid somehow and have a way to count the squares?

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Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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