Lesson 1: Inform the Community

Grades 5–8

words to know

Strand: About the Census

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Understand the link between the census
       and the availability of community services
  • bullet Understand students’ roles in civic life
  • bullet Write to inform others

Materials: Inform the Community Student Worksheet 1, American Samoa wall map, pen, computer (optional), creative supplies for brochures

Time Required: 35 minutes, plus pre- and post-interviewing

    Getting Started

  1. Ask students to predict an answer to this question: If you interviewed 10 people about their knowledge of the census, how many of them would clearly understand what the census is used for and why?
  2. Explain that the information gathered during a census helps officials to decide which communities should receive new services such as schools, playgrounds, roads, traffic lights, and police stations, and to evaluate the success or failure of existing programs. You can find a library of electronic presentations on census topics on the census Web site.
  3. Using the Wall Map

  4. Have students look at the icons on the map to see some of American Samoa’s main economic activities. Explain that census information helps officials plan for resources that benefit both the economy and communities. Ask: How would demographic information derived from the census help officials make decisions about resources to benefit businesses and communities?
  5. Using the Student Worksheets

  6. Distribute Inform the Community Student Worksheet 1. Explain that students will use the questions on the worksheet to conduct pre- and post-interviews with 10 people in their school, family, or community. Advise students to either record the interviews so they can go back and listen to the details or have students take careful notes.
  7. In the meantime, have students create informational brochures to generate awareness of the 2010 Census American Samoa and the benefits of responding. Once students complete their pre-interviews, they should deliver the brochure along with a note of thanks to the participants.
  8. Wrap-up

  9. Help students analyze the information they receive from their initial interviews by asking: What conclusions can you reach based on the answers you have received so far? Do you see the need to follow up with the informational brochure? How will the brochure affect the post-interview results?
  10. As part of this awareness activity, students will follow up with a post-interview to gauge whether or not their informational brochure generated improved awareness among participants.
  11. Once students receive answers to their pre- and post-interviews, have them create a summary of results and assess the accuracy of their original prediction.

Teaching Options

Younger or less skilled students can focus on one question in the interview. Divide the class into groups and assign each group one of the questions. The group should design a simple informational flyer that focuses on their question. Each student in the group can interview five people in person, record the answers, then share the flyer and ask the question again. Students can report back on the effectiveness of their flyers.

Older or more skilled students can focus on evaluating the effectiveness of their campaign. Divide the class into groups and have each group design a brochure. Challenge each group to develop a system for measuring the effectiveness of their campaign, perhaps by assigning points to correct answers to the pre- and post-interview questions. The groups will tabulate their scores and present results to the class. Which group’s campaign was most effective?

If students have computer access, consider having them conduct their interviews via e-mail.

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