TeachersFirst's US Census Resources

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

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.

 

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Mapping the 2010 U.S. Census - The New York Times

Grades
4 to 12
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This interactive map project shows the population growth and decline, changes in racial and ethnic concentrations, and patterns of housing development in the U.S., based on information...more
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This interactive map project shows the population growth and decline, changes in racial and ethnic concentrations, and patterns of housing development in the U.S., based on information from the Census Bureau's 2010 survey. The map is zoomable so that you can view neighborhoods delineated by specific streets or zip codes.

tag(s): census (19), maps (287), population (60)

In the Classroom

Introduce 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.
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2000 Census Data On-line - US Government

Grades
K to 12
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This provides the 2000 U.S. census information. There are links to news, data tools, a message from the President (Obama, at the time of this review), employment information, fact sheets,...more
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This provides the 2000 U.S. census information. There are links to news, data tools, a message from the President (Obama, at the time of this review), employment information, fact sheets, and more. General categories include "People & Households," "Business & Industry," "Geography," "Newsroom," and "Special Topics." Each category has several topics. This 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.

tag(s): census (19), data (149), states (163)

In the Classroom

This 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).

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Facts for Features: Thanksgiving Day 2010 - U.S. Census Bureau

Grades
3 to 12
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The Census Bureau offers lots of Thanksgiving statistics, from the total weight of all the turkeys raised in the US to the total amount of food consumed on Thanksgiving. You ...more
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The Census Bureau offers lots of Thanksgiving statistics, from the total weight of all the turkeys raised in the US to the total amount of food consumed on Thanksgiving. You can plan a huge party with this one!

tag(s): thanksgiving (37)

In the Classroom

Choose a statistic your students can estimate then use this site to help develop estimation and number sense--all in a holiday spirit. Gobble, Gobble! Perhaps create an infographic to display your favorite data. An interesting question to ask: what other data would you like to learn from the U.S. census the next time they do one?

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2010 Census - US Census Bureau

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6 to 12
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Every ten years, the United States participates in a census; the census represents both a raw count of the country's population, but also how that population is distributed demographically....more
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Every ten years, the United States participates in a census; the census represents both a raw count of the country's population, but also how that population is distributed demographically. The US Census Bureau has begun unrolling the data collected during this most recent census. This site will continue to update, so check back often for more. The ability of the Internet and computer data to be distributed widely has changed significantly since the 2000 census, and this site reflects increased transparency and ease of access to this vital information.

tag(s): census (19), demographics (19), population (60)

In the Classroom

First, 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?
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2010 Census: It's About Us 2010 Census in Schools - Scholastic

Grades
K to 12
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Help your students learn what the census is and why it's important. This site includes lessons and maps for students in all grades. Thematic units focus on history of the ...more
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Help your students learn what the census is and why it's important. This site includes lessons and maps for students in all grades. Thematic units focus on history of the census for using and collecting data. There is information on all territories of the United States (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, etc..). There are links for teachers, parents, and administrators. And the Family Take Home Pages are available in 27 languages!

tag(s): census (19), population (60), states (163)

In the Classroom

Take 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.
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Census in Schools - US Census Bureau

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K to 12
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The US Census Bureau site provides a collection of materials, lessons, and information designed to teach the nation's students about the importance of the census and focusing on encouraging...more
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The US Census Bureau site provides a collection of materials, lessons, and information designed to teach the nation's students about the importance of the census and focusing on encouraging students to help ensure every child and every household member is counted in 2010. The site includes a copy of the census form, dozens of lesson plans/ideas for various grade levels and subjects, and a few simple interactive activities for both kids and teens.

tag(s): census (19), data (149), population (60), states (163)

In the Classroom

Because 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.
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100 People - 100 People Foundation and VIF

Grades
6 to 12
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This site takes the global population (there are 6.7 billion of us) and simplifies it to 100 People to help students understand what kind of people make up their community ...more
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This site takes the global population (there are 6.7 billion of us) and simplifies it to 100 People to help students understand what kind of people make up their community and the world beyond. On the first page of the website you will see a lesson plan video to view. There are 12 other videos for you to use.

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."

tag(s): population (60), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

This 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. Glogster EDU, 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." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7FP1kgtD8U). 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.

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Census in Schools - Scholastic and U.S. Census Bureau

Grades
K to 12
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This census site is huge! It will help you teach your students what they count and why! Developed by Scholastic, this site is for grades K-12. "Census in Schools" has ...more
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This census site is huge! It will help you teach your students what they count and why! Developed by Scholastic, this site is for grades K-12. "Census in Schools" has so many resources they can't all be given justice here. There are four tabs at the top for teachers, kids, teens, and materials. There are other tabs that have word games, memory games, and quizzes. There are a plethora of links to other sources on each page.

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 Classroom

The 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.

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Job Voyager - ipums.org

Grades
8 to 12
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This interactive graph (created with information from the 2000 U.S. Census) shows all jobs and the percentages of people who worked them from 1850-2000. Students can scroll up over...more
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This interactive graph (created with information from the 2000 U.S. Census) shows all jobs and the percentages of people who worked them from 1850-2000. Students can scroll up over any given year to see any job and the percentage of Americans working that job during that year (gender indicated). A few do have "missing data," but most are complete. By clicking on the job, a new screen appears which shows the percentage of workers but divides the workers into male and female (pink and blue traditional colors help to differentiate between the genders). The site reflects the growing number of female workers, the loss of agrarian occupations, and the changing fields of importance, to name a few trends. Besides viewing the breakdown of male and female employees, you can also select one field and analyze its place in society today and during any given year. Occupations range from teachers to salesman to farmer to clerical worker and countless others. You can also search by letter and all the occupations beginning with that letter will come up graphed by percentages across the span of years.

tag(s): time (144)

In the Classroom

This 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?
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The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War - Edward L. Ayers

Grades
6 to 12
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This site is a digital archive of documents related to people from two communities during the American Civil War: Augusta County, Virginia in the South and Franklin County, Pennsylvania...more
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This site is a digital archive of documents related to people from two communities during the American Civil War: Augusta County, Virginia in the South and Franklin County, Pennsylvania in the North. The archive is roughly divided into three sections: pre-war, during the war, and post-war. Within each section are subsections devoted to census information, newspapers, letters and diaries, church records, maps and images. The archive allows the user to examine the lives of real people living on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line during one of the most pivotal times in U.S. history. Another section of this site presents specific lesson plans that use the archives, a list of possible research paper topics that draw on the information and the specific case of a teacher who used these archives to help prepare students for the DBA (Document-Based Analysis) sections of the Advanced Placement History exams.

tag(s): civil war (145)

In the Classroom

The 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.

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Census in Schools - U.S. Census Bureau

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4 to 10
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This site, created especially for students who need to understand information collected during the census (up to, and including the year 2000), offers five main areas: State Facts for...more
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This site, created especially for students who need to understand information collected during the census (up to, and including the year 2000), offers five main areas: State Facts for Students, Program Overview, Teaching Materials (K-adult), Reference Materials, and Highlights. The state pages include a generalized lesson plan and pertinent information for each state. The City map section under reference materials is especially interesting as it shows city growth from 1790 to 2000. The teaching materials section includes activities and downloadable, printable census kits for classroom use from kindergarten students to adults.

tag(s): census (19), maps (287), states (163)

In the Classroom

This 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.
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ZIPskinny - ZIPskinny

Grades
6 to 12
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A useful little site for research or idle curiosity, this site offers some basic demographic data about the communities that make up each U.S. ZIP code. The ZIP code, first ...more
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A useful little site for research or idle curiosity, this site offers some basic demographic data about the communities that make up each U.S. ZIP code. The ZIP code, first developed in 1963 to assist the U.S. Postal Service with automated mail delivery, has become a powerful demographic symbol and is frequently used by researchers to compare U.S. communities. This site, which ties its data to information gathered in the 2000 census, offers no commentary--just the facts ma'am--and includes statistics on education, income, population, race, gender, and marital status. There is a utility for comparing any ZIP code with up to 20 other ZIP codes. Students may be interested in the specific data provided for each public school within a given ZIP code. Our reviewers did notice that some ZIP codes are not included at this time. Serious researchers are cautioned, the data comes from the 2000 census, and may be outdated. This historical census data may provide a good comparison with other, more recent years or for students to make predictions for an upcoming census based on past trends. There is a lot of advertising on the site, although the majority of it is in the form of text links rather than annoying pictures or dancing silhouettes.

tag(s): census (19), demographics (19)

In the Classroom

Teachers 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.

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American Women Through Time - Ken Middleton

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8 to 12
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Learn about specific time periods in America's past through the lens of women's history. This site provides a chronology of women's contributions in the United States from the nation's...more
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Learn about specific time periods in America's past through the lens of women's history. This site provides a chronology of women's contributions in the United States from the nation's infancy through the twentieth century. Students can "read more about it" by following links to relevant web sites for each event, or explore helpful research sources (census data, newspapers, diaries, etc.) for each specified area.

tag(s): women (101)

In the Classroom

This 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.

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Kids' Corner - US Census Bureau

Grades
3 to 6
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This practical research tool provides useful, kid-friendly information about each of the fifty states. Students can learn about the census, discover state-related facts, and test their...more
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This practical research tool provides useful, kid-friendly information about each of the fifty states. Students can learn about the census, discover state-related facts, and test their knowledge with some challenging quiz questions. An interactive map serves as an easy navigational tool to reveal state-by-state information including total population, urban and rural residences, school enrollment, and languages spoken.

tag(s): states (163)

In the Classroom

Use this site during state research. Compare various states and have cooperative learning groups create two circle Venn Diagrams comparing two specific states using a site such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).
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CensusScope

Grades
6 to 12
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Created by a university consortium, this site offers a wealth of graphs, charts, and data that students can use to analyze America's demographics. There are a number of prefabricated...more
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Created by a university consortium, this site offers a wealth of graphs, charts, and data that students can use to analyze America's demographics. There are a number of prefabricated analyses available, and there is also enough data to create exercises or activities that let students explore on their own. There are a number of possibilities for social studies, math, or statistics in this one.

tag(s): census (19), demographics (19), population (60)

In the Classroom

Share these visuals on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students investigate one area of this data and contribute to a class wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

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Statistical Abstract of the United States - US Government

Grades
6 to 12
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The government's concise presentation of statistical information on hundreds of aspects of life in the United States. Although this site only goes up to 2000 (at the time of this ...more
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The government's concise presentation of statistical information on hundreds of aspects of life in the United States. Although this site only goes up to 2000 (at the time of this review), it could be very useful in comparing historical data. Make sure to reference back for new stats after the 2010 census is done!

tag(s): demographics (19), population (60), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a point of reference for any and all statistical information about the US population. Teachers can use this to find voter and state information, which would be useful in a discussion about apportion of state delegates in the House of Representatives.

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American Fact Finder - The U.S. Census Department

Grades
5 to 12
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The U.S. Census Department offers this site which provides a wide variety of statistical and factual information on American population, economics, education, and other statistics on...more
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The U.S. Census Department offers this site which provides a wide variety of statistical and factual information on American population, economics, education, and other statistics on this new site redesigned since the 2010 census. There are several ways to search for different sets of data. There are even interactive maps of census data. (See Geographies and click on the Maps tab.) It's a great research tool, especially if you know what you're looking for. Parts of this site are updated through the present, while others date back to 2000.

tag(s): census (19), demographics (19), population (60)

In the Classroom

Explore the site together as a class on projector or interactive whiteboard before asking student groups to create a set of compare/contrast questions for their peers to solve on this site. Also be sure to include this site on your teacher web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further research. While students are learning about various states throughout the United States, have cooperative learning groups use this tool to compare and learn more about states and form hypotheses about possible reasons for the data they discover.

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Census Quick Facts - US Government

Grades
3 to 12
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This easy to use site contains population and demographic information for any state or county in the nation. The data available includes population, ethnic composition, and other related...more
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This easy to use site contains population and demographic information for any state or county in the nation. The data available includes population, ethnic composition, and other related information. There is also a link for younger students with basic information on a more elementary level. At the time of this review, the data provided was from 2008.

tag(s): census (19), population (60)

In the Classroom

Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. Have pairs of students create multimedia presentations about specific states or counties. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of the locations they have researched (with audio stories and pictures included)!

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