Lesson 1: It's About You
Strand: About the Census
Skills and Objectives
- Build reading confidence by reading
- Explain who is counted in the census
- Recognize the connection between census
information and community decision-making
Materials: First We Count: A Reader's Theater Script Student Worksheet 1, pencil/pen
Time Required: 35 minutes, plus performance time
- Write the definition of government on the board. Then write the definition of responsibility.
- Engage students in a discussion about government and responsibility. Discuss people’s responsibility to participate in government (such as voting and being well-informed about issues) and the government’s responsibility to make decisions that benefit people.
- Work with students to generate two lists on the board—one list of the government’s responsibilities and another list of the responsibilities of individuals.
- Remind students that an important event is happening in April 2010, when the census is taken in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tie this event to your discussion by letting students know that the government must count the number of people living in the U.S. Virgin Islands every 10 years and it is our responsibility to make sure that we are counted.
- Tell students that they will find out more about how the census is taken by performing in a Reader’s Theater activity.
Using the Student Worksheets
- Distribute copies of First We Count: A Reader’s Theater Script Student Worksheet 1. Explain to students who the characters are, and assign roles. No costumes or sets are needed. Have students highlight their parts if this helps them follow along.
- Guide students as they perform the script, asking them to read as dramatically as possible. More active students may want to take on the role of the census worker.
- After the play is performed, call students’ attention to the questions at the bottom of the worksheet. Provide class time for students to answer the questions.
Ask students to share what they’ve learned from performing and watching the play. They should know that the census counts all the men, women, and children who live in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the rest of the United States and its territories. Census information helps lawmakers decide which communities should receive new services such as schools, playgrounds, roads, traffic lights, and police stations.
Younger or less skilled students can watch a performance of the Reader’s Theater script given by students in one of the upper grades. Assess their knowledge of the census process by incorporating the questions on the worksheet into a class discussion.
Older or more skilled students may want to record the Reader’s Theater performance with video equipment. The taped performance could then be shared on a local Web site, blog, or public-access television station. It also could be shown to family members during a special evening informational session on the census.
Student Worksheet 1: 1) A census worker; 2) Every man, woman, and child living in a household; 3) To help the government decide who will receive new services such as schools, playgrounds, and roads; 4) Yes; 5) No