Lesson 4: A Class Census

Grades 3–4

words to know

Strand: Managing Data

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Recognize that data represent specific
       pieces of information about real-world activities
  • bullet Understand the mapping of areas or cities
       through such concepts as location and direction

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, Your Own Census Student Worksheet 4a, Student Assessment Student Worksheet 4b

Time Required: 40 minutes in class; approximately one hour outside of class for conducting the census.

    Getting Started

  1. Explain that you are going to take a class census. Direct students' attention to the wall map. Review the compass rose and directions. Ask: Which state to the north of our state would you most like to visit? (Based on your state, you might need to select south, east, or west.)
  2. Create a tally chart. Make certain students understand the terms data, row, and column.

    figure 1

  3. Explain: A tally chart is one way to show data. There are other ways. One example is a bar graph. Let’s show the results from our chart in a bar graph.

    figure 2

  4. Create a bar graph like the one above. Discuss features of the bar graph, emphasizing that it shows the same data shown in the tally chart.
  5. Using the Student Worksheets

  6. Separate students into small teams. Explain that students will now take a school-wide census.
  7. Distribute Your Own Census Student Worksheet 4a and read the instructions with students. Answer any questions and review the Tips for Taking Your Census section.
  8. Provide monitored time for census taking (in the cafeteria at lunchtime, during homeroom periods, etc.).
  9. Instruct students to show the results of their census in a bar graph. Ask: What did you find most interesting about this activity? If you were the principal of your school, what changes might you recommend based on the results? Why?
  10. Wrap-up

  11. Use Student Assessment Student Worksheet 4b to find out what the 2010 Census form will look like.
  12. Review the form as a class and answer the questions to assess understanding of this unit.

Student Worksheet 4b: 1) Census counts are used to determine how many congressional representatives your state receives; 2) Government and businesses use census information to make decisions about your local community; 3) Yes. Answers to second part of the question may vary; 4) Answers will vary.

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