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.
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomInclude this video when teaching students about gathering and sharing data to help them understand a census. Then, expand students' knowledge by conducting a census of your class. First, use Pear Deck, reviewed here, to build an interactive lesson to teach students about gathering and sharing data that includes this video as an introduction and includes questions to gather data on your class, such as how many boys and girls are in your class, how many students have siblings, etc. Next, use the Data Gif Maker, reviewed here, to quickly build graphs representing the data you collect in different formats.
Grades6 to 9
In the ClassroomUse the ideas shared in this article to create an interdisciplinary lesson to teach math, social studies, and writing objectives. For example, in this article, students work in groups to explore how many people in different states speak a language other than English at home. Take advantage of technology tools to engage and enhance this activity. For example, have students collect data using Microsoft Forms or Google Forms, then create and share charts and graphs using ChartGizmo, reviewed here. Use Google My Maps, reviewed here, to create an interactive map that includes all information created and shared by students.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomTake advantage of this free lesson plan and the included ideas to introduce and reinforce the concept of statistical questions to your students. Integrate statistical questions with your lessons using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheets to visualize and analyze data. Ask students to share their data using Displayr, reviewed here to view the information in many different formats, including line graphs, bar charts, infographics, and much more. Extend learning by asking students to become statisticians by creating questions, gathering data, and sharing their analyses with peers. Use Microsoft Forms or Google Forms for students to collect data to begin their investigation.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomPropose reasons for the differences in median income in a particular area or state. Research industry, agriculture, level of education, and other factors to determine the reasons. Investigate at the nearby ports and natural resources. Why do certain parts of the country have higher incomes and/or costs of living? How is income connected to education level? Students can identify patterns that exist among the data. They can form hypotheses about why. Create a campaign to bridge the wage gap by suggesting ideas to increase salaries in areas. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. Teachers of gifted will find "rich" possibilities for discussion from this site.
Grades7 to 12
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In the ClassroomUse this tool to determine how far a dollar goes in various locations. Allow students the opportunity to play with a standard salary and occupation to look at the differences in costs of living. Report on trends for cities in different areas of the country. Create a list locally of the various items that would be found in each category and the salary for that occupation where you live. Create a budget that allows for savings and vacation or large purchases. Use the data for practice with graphing and creating infographics. In government classes, use this tool and census data to make hypotheses or draw conclusions about patterns of population movement and economic trends in various areas of the country, especially in connection with political trends and election data.
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): thanksgiving (23)
In the ClassroomChoose 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?
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?
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.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this video and song on your projector and screen, or whiteboard, as students come into the classroom. Use it as a lead-in to a discussion about the importance of the census. You can post some of the information from "Statistics - Census in Schools," reviewed here. From this same site you can go to "Fun Facts," that you can use in elementary, middle school, and high school classrooms. 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" reviewed here. Don't forget about the possibility of using the census in math class to understand data and graphing, as well.
GradesK to 12
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.
Grades3 to 6
tag(s): states (120)