TeachersFirst's US Census Resources
This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about the United States census and to plan related projects and classroom activities for both math and social studies classes at all levels. The census gives us a new lens to view geography, economics, history, current events, pop culture, and-- of course-- math! Whether you spend one class or an entire unit on the census, the ideas included within the "In the Classroom" portion of reviews will launch discussions and meaningful projects for student-centered learning.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Encourage your students to use this tool for projects and organization including making assumptions about neighborhood breakdowns, relationship to poverty levels, effects of industrialization and assumptions about why certain areas had an increase or decrease in population.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThis data would be great material for a US government or history class. Teachers can find all sorts of demograhic information for use during lessons on the political make-up of the country as well as representative numbers, migration trends, etc. There is a LOT here so be sure to give yourself time to search through it all for what you need. Have students use this site to research specific topics and create multimedia projects with a partner. Have cooperative learning groups create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Challenge groups to create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here).
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomFirst, it's important for students to know that the US Constitution requires a census, and second, that the information gathered is used in a variety of important ways that affect them directly. The first data posted looks at how shifts in population density will change the way various geographic areas of the country are represented in the US government. Consider reading the Director's blog for further analysis of how census data is being used on a local, state, and national level. Of course, the data are perfect for using in math and civics classes for teaching graph reading and creation, and for providing real-life information to use in statistical analysis. A civics or sociology class might download a copy of the census form and consider what the questions tell us about how families live in the 21st century. What questions might students add to a future census form that would reflect how things are changing for their generation?
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the numerous lesson plans, maps, and other ideas this site offers. Don't forget to check out the diversity lessons and ideas. Have students individually check out the two interactives focusing on geography and history. Encourage parents to check out the section entitled Families. You may consider providing this link on your class website.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBecause of the volume of materials and activities, introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups to put together a Public Service Announcement on participating in the Census 2010. Have students create video advertisements or infomercials. Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here. Try using the historical census data or the predicted population data for math projects related to statistics.
Grades6 to 12
There are two lesson plans for this site. The first one, "World Portrait" is where students survey and select 100 people to represent their community and the world's population. There are also suggestions for how a class might select one person. The plan is download-able and has ideas that include criteria for the people who are nominated, discussion topics and activities, questions for the community profile, a questionnaire for the people nominated, an image release form, just to name a few. Student results are to be captured in film, photography, music and text. The other lesson plan on this site is titled "100 People Under the Sun." In order to download this lesson you must register, it is free, but you will have to log in when viewing the plan. With this lesson "...students will develop key leadership skills to help raise their community's awareness of its energy use, as well as its motivation to advance sustainable approaches."
In the ClassroomThis project is the perfect opportunity to collaborate with others in your building! Math students could complete a school and community survey (which could tie in with 2010 U.S. census). Social Studies students could interpret data collected in the survey (also could be tied into the 2010 census) and extrapolate parameters for nominations. Language Arts students would finalize the nominations and develop the essays. Technology, yearbook, and art classes can draw the portraits or produce them digitally, create a video for submission to 100 People project, and your more advanced technology students can create a website for content display. WebNode, reviewed here, or a wiki would be great tools to use for the website! Not familiar with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
Of course, you don't have to collaborate with others. This unit would work well in any world culture class at any level, or even in language arts when studying multicultural literature and settings. Here's another idea: Many of us have seen the video Did You Know? Predicting Future Statistics>. The beginning states "If you are one in a million in China there are 1,300 people just like you." But it also gives statistics like "During the course of this presentation 60 babies will be born in the U.S., 244 babies will be born in China, and 351 babies will be born in India..." You can use your and your student's ideas to come up with your own statistics. Something like how many people will be working and sleeping between the hours of midnight and 6:00 A.M. in the U.S., China, and India (or any other country you wish to include). Use this to lead to discussions of time zones and all sorts of other peripheral ideas and decisions students will have to think about.
GradesK to 12
While exploring, our reviewer visited the "Teacher" tab and clicked on "lesson plans" and found lesson for mapping, the history of the census, and relating the census to the student's classroom. There were two sets of lessons here for K-2 and 3-4. Standards/benchmarks for language arts, math, social studies, and geography for K-2 and 3-4 were included. There were worksheets to download for both levels, a story to read, "Who Counts," with comprehension questions to answer, and mapping activities. The site also had links for additional resources and a letter for the parents about the unit....and that was only ONE link on the "Teacher" tab. Whew! The rest of the site is just as thoroughly and professionally done as the lessons for K-4 lessons.
tag(s): census (19)
In the ClassroomThe K-4 lessons are perfect to use the way they are, or you might want to do some comparing of information between the different grade levels within your school. Another idea is to pair up third and fourth graders with the kindergartners or first and second graders to read the story and work on the worksheets together. Of course, using your projector and interactive whiteboard with the whole class is a must for explanations of the lessons. This site is very colorful, so project what you can! You may want to introduce this unit with a catchy, educational song and video about the census reviewed here. For teachers of older students there are "Lessons Using the 2000 Census Data," "Quick Facts," and much more. One last suggestion: Once you've completed your census unit, discussion, etc. You might want to have your class participate in the "100 People: A World Portrait" project reviewed here.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): time (141)
In the ClassroomThis is a great find for the interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this site with career counseling staff, as well. Use this site when studying U.S. history and economics. Compare the role in society of various occupations (such as a farm laborer) from the 1850s to 2000. Have students hypothesize about why the changes occurred and predict what might show in census data in 2010 and beyond. Use this when teaching graph reading and graph creation, as well. As with any data on the Internet, you will want to challenge students on how they know whether this data set is reliable -- what is the source?
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): civil war (143)
In the ClassroomThe site is a gold mine of information, and would be useful to either students doing in-depth research, or for teachers who want to highlight the specific contrasts between communities from the North and the South during the Civil War. Teachers who wish to differentiate instruction will find paper topics which could be assigned to students who want to extend the lesson. Additionally, paper topics give options for creative essays, traditional essays or research papers, which can be adapted to different learning styles. Why not have students create a fictitious ongoing wiki between folks living on either side of the "line." What might they say to one another? Not sure what a wiki is? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
Grades4 to 10
In the ClassroomThis historical census data is ideal for comparison with other, more recent years or for students to make predictions for an upcoming census based on past trends. Use this page when studying various states; students can make a quick comparison between targeted states with the facts ready to read all on one or two pages. If you teach data analysis and graphing in your math class, this data provides real world information for students to use in math exercises, spreadsheets, and graphs. You could even use it in Google Docs spreadsheets (reviewed here). If you have ESL and ELL students, check out the special ESL pages found under the teaching materials section. The easy to read materials include glossaries, exercises, and excellent maps, perfect for geography lessons.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomTeachers or students seeking some basic demographic data about their own town or city, or wishing to compare it with another location, will find this site useful. Civics, government, or economics lessons could be enriched with local data which might be compared to the more general information offered by textbooks in answer to the question "How do we compare to this?" Math teachers and reading teachers who teach graphical data analysis might get some mileage out of using the graphs and tables from their own towns or communities for computations rather than using generic information from a textbook. Project the graphs on a whiteboard and have students manipulate to explain the meaning of changes in the visuals. Think of the higher level thinking questions you could generate during a political year! Of course, the terminally curious can probably waste a good hour or two just noodling with the data.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): women (94)
In the ClassroomThis is an excellent resource for piecing together American history by examining primary source documents. Have cooperative learning groups investigate women's contributions in various decades and create a video. Share the videos using a site such as SchoolTube reviewed here.
Grades3 to 6
tag(s): states (164)