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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

The Census

Project URL: http://teachersnetwork.org/teachnet-lab/ps101/moved%20files/census.htm

How it works:
This lesson will teach students what the census is and why the 2000 census is important. To begin, paper is given to the students for a fictional art project that will take place later in the day. Purposely undercount the number of students so that not every child gets a sheet of paper. When students realize that not every student received paper, discuss how some people were "cheated" because not everyone was counted. Then, discuss with students what a census is and why the 2000 census is important.

Have students do research on the census by going on-line to the U.S. Census Bureau Web site at www.census.gov. Show the students a real census form, and ask how many have seen and/or returned one. Again, discuss why the census is important, and what would happen if there were an undercount.

1. Complete an authentic form with appropriate use of language.
2. Write a persuasive speech or essay.
3. Use technology to access
4. Analyze data from website to create a bar graph.
5. Design and create a poster to encourage people to return their census forms.

The students:
The students are in fifth grade. They are heterogeneously grouped in an average class setting. This lesson is appropriate for students in grade 3-8.

Overall value:
This lesson is timely and relevant. Students should know this information and why it is important. Perhaps students could educate and encourage their parents to return a census.

Tips for teachers:
Teachers should be prepared with background knowledge and a copy of the census.

About the Teacher:

Barbara Ruszkowski is a fifth grade teacher at P.S. 101 in Brooklyn, New York. She has been teaching at the elementary level for twelve years.


Estimated Class Periods To Complete: 6

Subject: Social Studies

Beginning Grade Level: 3

Ending Grade Level: 8

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