As an extension to the grammar point of comparative and superlative adjectives, I found a multiple-choice quiz on world geography. The students were meant to work in pairs to discuss the options and make their choice, then search on the internet (in English) for the actual answer. This went less well than I’d anticipated – most of the students don’t really know much about world geography. In fact some don’t really know much about the geography of their own country.
I halted the activity then had to fill in the remaining time. I asked students in pairs which of their countries/cities was bigger, and were they bigger than Australia/Sydney etc. One pair consisted of a student from Bangladesh and one from Nepal. My conceptual map has Bangladesh as a moderately big country and Nepal as a moderately small one, but a quick look at the real map shows that they are very close to the same size.
In fact, this list has Bangladesh as the 92nd biggest sovereign state in the world at 147,570 km2 and Nepal as the 93rd at 147,181. This is slightly smaller than England and Wales combined, and the South Island of New Zealand, and slightly bigger than Montana.
One big difference between Bangladesh and Nepal is the population – Bangladesh has 168 million people and Nepal has 26 million, meaning that the population density of Bangladesh is about seven times that of Nepal. In fact, Bangladesh is by far the biggest country/territory in the top 20 for population density – most of the others are countries/territories with a (moderately) small population in a very small area: the top 5 are Macau, Monaco, Singapore, Hong Kong and Gibraltar.
Nepal has a higher population than Australia (24 million) and Dhaka alone (8. 9 million) has more people than New South Wales (7.7 million).