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.

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Everyone Counts Singalong - U.S. Census Bureau

Grades
K to 3
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Introduce the vocabulary term, census, to young students using this catchy video from the Census Bureau. The video is just over one minute and includes a repeating chorus that will...more
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Introduce the vocabulary term, census, to young students using this catchy video from the Census Bureau. The video is just over one minute and includes a repeating chorus that will catch your students' interest.

tag(s): census (12), data (147), preK (259)

In the Classroom

Include 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.

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How This Teacher Brings Census Data to Life in the Classroom - Wendy McMahon

Grades
6 to 9
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Utilizing the census to teach statistics using real-world information and data is the focus of the conversation in this article shared by EdSurge. Applying real-world data, such as...more
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Utilizing the census to teach statistics using real-world information and data is the focus of the conversation in this article shared by EdSurge. Applying real-world data, such as census data, in the lessons helps students develop critical thinking skills and a deeper understanding of their communities. In addition, this article shares various tools and resources to access and analyze census data, including online databases and mapping software.

tag(s): census (12), data (147), statistics (116)

In the Classroom

Use 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.

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What is a Statistical Question? - United States Census Bureau

Grades
4 to 8
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What is a Statistical Question is a standards-based teacher's guide for providing lessons to instruct students on creating and identifying statistical questions. During the activity,...more
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What is a Statistical Question is a standards-based teacher's guide for providing lessons to instruct students on creating and identifying statistical questions. During the activity, students determine if the questions are statistical or not and then use the provided Radio Set Ownership Map and the United States Map for students to explore statistical questions and their features. During the final portion of the lesson, students write statistical questions based on data learned in the previous activity.

tag(s): census (12), data (147), statistics (116)

In the Classroom

Take 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.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks - RichBlocksPoorBlocks

Grades
7 to 12
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Use this tool to find the median household income of the US by each Census tract. Search by city or state. Or click the "little orange man" and drag him ...more
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Use this tool to find the median household income of the US by each Census tract. Search by city or state. Or click the "little orange man" and drag him to the location you want to view on the US map. You will be taken to "Street View" (see the street up close) to view the income for that exact block. Find the median income by color blocks.

tag(s): census (12), maps (207)

In the Classroom

Propose 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 Snappa, reviewed here. Teachers of gifted will find "rich" possibilities for discussion from this site.

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Payscale Cost of Living Calculator - Payscale, Inc.

Grades
7 to 12
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Try this excellent tool when teaching budgeting, comparing salaries and cost of living in different areas, and money management. Enter two locations and a salary and occupation. Graphs...more
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Try this excellent tool when teaching budgeting, comparing salaries and cost of living in different areas, and money management. Enter two locations and a salary and occupation. Graphs show the difference between cost of groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, and health care in the two places. A comparison shows how much salary you would need to maintain the present standard of living in the other location. You can also compare the cost of living to other major cities.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): careers (139), money (119)

In the Classroom

Use 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.

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Facts for Features: Thanksgiving Day 2017 - 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 (24)

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 (12), demographics (13), population (48)

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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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 (48), statistics (116)

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. 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.

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A Better Future - Let's Be Counted - Steven J. Logwood

Grades
2 to 12
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Wow! What a creative way to introduce a census unit, or to just make your students aware of the importance of the census. This is a four minute video, "Music-Based ...more
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Wow! What a creative way to introduce a census unit, or to just make your students aware of the importance of the census. This is a four minute video, "Music-Based Messaging Prototype encouraging young Hispanics and African Americans to participate in the census." It is a YouTube video with a catchy tune and photos of every ethnic group one can think of. The information in the song is also printed on the screen. The video is available in Spanish and English. As they say in their pitch: "It's fun, motivating, digital, downloadable, overcomes literacy issues, and is environmentally friendly." If YouTube is blocked in your school, the video may not be viewable.

tag(s): census (12), literacy (110)

In the Classroom

Share 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.

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Statistics - Census in Schools - U.S. Census Bureau

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K to 12
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This census site is huge! It will help you teach your students what they count and why! This site is for grades K-12. "Statistics - Census in Schools" has so ...more
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This census site is huge! It will help you teach your students what they count and why! This site is for grades K-12. "Statistics - Census in Schools" has so many resources they can't all be given justice here. There are four tabs at the top for Activities, Resources, Standards, and About. scroll down the page to find Classroom Activities by subject; however the Activities tab includes grade levels and Home and Distance Learning. The Resources tab has Games, Maps, Fun Facts, Videos, Warm-up Activities, and more. There are a plethora of links to other sources on each page.

tag(s): census (12), statistics (116)

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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State Facts for Students - 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 (122)

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 (12), demographics (13), population (48)

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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Home Schooling in the United States - US Census Department

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K to 12
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The popularity of home schooling is on the rise, and teachers need to understand why. This report (dated August 2001) from the Census Department takes a look at home schooling ...more
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The popularity of home schooling is on the rise, and teachers need to understand why. This report (dated August 2001) from the Census Department takes a look at home schooling - how many families are doing it, where they are, and what their motivations and successes may be.

In the Classroom

This report should be interesting reading for anyone working in a public or independent school.

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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 2010 (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 2010 (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 2020 census is done!

tag(s): demographics (13), population (48), statistics (116)

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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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 (12), population (48)

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 as Zeemaps, reviewed here, to create a map of the locations they have researched (with audio stories and pictures included)!

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