Lesson 3: Then and Now

Grades 3-4

words to know

Strand: Map Literacy

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Use thematic maps
  • bullet Interpret data from charts and graphs
  • bullet Conduct research and use data to compare
       different times and places

Before starting, 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.

Materials: United States Population wall map, American Growth Student Worksheet 3a, Decoding Census Data Student Worksheet 3b, At-Home Interview Student Worksheet 3c

Time Required: 40 minutes, plus 30 minutes of research time

    Getting Started

  1. Explain that students will explore how census data illustrates differences in time and place through an online research project.
  2. Refresh students' map-reading skills using the wall map. Explain: This map shows the data collected during Census 2000, before most of you were born. Instruct students to look at the map carefully. Ask: How many people lived in our state in the year 2000? Will the same number be counted in 2010? Why not? (People were born, died, moved away, or moved into the state during the last 10 years.) Explain that in 2010, the census will find out how many people live in the United States today.
  3. Using the Wall Map

  4. Distribute American Growth Student Worksheet 3a to each student. Make certain students know the definitions of population, median, resident, map legend, and distance. Separate students into pairs and instruct each pair to answer the worksheet questions using the information on the wall map.
  5. Review the answers as a group. Ask: What do these numbers tell you about changes in the U.S. population? How does this information help you understand the importance of the U.S. census?
  6. Using the Student Worksheets

  7. Explain that students will be completing a research project to better understand how census data reflect change over time and differences between places. They will compare census data from two time periods as well as from two different states in the same time period. Each pair will present their comparisons to the class.
  8. Distribute copies of Decoding Census Data Student Worksheet 3b to each student pair. Provide class time and computer access for student research.
  9. Display the finished dioramas and mobiles in a hallway, the cafeteria, or the main office.
  10. Wrap-up

  11. Encourage students to tell their families what they are learning about the 2010 Census.
  12. Distribute copies of At-Home Interview Student Worksheet 3c. Ask students to find out about their family's experience with past censuses through a personal interview.

Student Worksheet 3a: 1) Answers will vary; 2) Wyoming; 3) California; 4) Answers will vary; 5a) for 2000: 281,421,906, for 1800: 5,308,483; 5b) Answers will vary

Student Worksheet 3b: 1) 281,421,906; 2) 61,297,467; 3) 35.3; 4) $41,994; 5) 76,632,927; 6) 33,653,641

Help | Privacy Policy




(Separate multiple email addresses with commas)

Check this box to send yourself a copy of the email.


Scholastic respects your privacy. We do not retain or distribute lists of email addresses.