Strand: Community Participation
Skills and Objectives
- Use map-reading skills to find answers
- Learn the difference between senators
and members of Congress
Before class, print and copy the student worksheets and hang the wall map. Then download the It’s About Us Census Fact Sheet to aid classroom discussion.
Time Required: 40 minutes
- Write the word community on the board. Encourage students to define the word and brainstorm a list of different types of communities.
- Explain: Part of the importance of the census is to get the information needed to make sure that community needs (e.g., roads, schools, hospitals) can be met.
- Read the following scenario aloud to reinforce the importance of being counted: Pretend our school is planning a meeting to discuss and vote on new computers for classrooms. Each class may send student representatives to the meeting. These students will make decisions about who will get the computers, as well as the kind and number of computers each class will receive.
- Is it important for our class to have representatives at the meeting? Why? Will we want many or few class representatives? Why?
- Should the decision about which classrooms receive computers depend on the number of students?
- What if the decision about how many representatives we can have is based on how many students we have in our class?
- Is it important to know exactly how many students are in our class? Why?
- Explain that laws for our nation are made by Congress and the census results help decide how many congresspeople each state can elect. Remind students that, while the Senate has two members from each state, population determines how many congresspeople each state elects to the House of Representatives.
- Distribute Population Explosion Student Worksheet 2a to each student. Read the introduction together. Have students walk up to the wall map and copy down each state’s population and number of representatives. Provide time for students to answer the worksheet questions.
- During every census, many people are not counted. Ask: Why do you think this happens? (They’re not at home, they’re unsure of who should be counted, etc.)
- Separate students into at least four groups of various sizes and genders that will represent different families in Tickleville. Select one student to be the census worker.
- Distribute Town of Tickleville Student Worksheet 2b and engage students in a role-playing activity that explores the concerns many people have about the census.
- Help students create posters, brochures, bulletin boards, or online messages to increase your community’s understanding of the 2010 Census. Distribute them at an event, like Parent/Teacher Night or a PTO/PTA meeting.
Using the Wall Map
Using the Student Worksheets
Student Worksheet 2a: 1) California; no; 2) Alaska; no; 3) To decide how many congressional representatives each state receives and to provide demographic information for business and government decisions.