Lesson 3: Why You Count

Grades 7–8

words to know

Strand: Community Participation

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Use writing skills and strategies to understand
       and interpret a variety of literary texts
  • bullet Know the characteristics and purposes of
       geographic databases
  • bullet Understand how participation in civic and
       political life can help bring about the attainment
       of individual and public goals

Before starting, print and copy the student worksheets and hang the wall map.

Materials: Community Power Student Worksheet 3a, It's About You Student Worksheet 3b, presentation software, Internet access

Time Required: Three 40-minute class periods

    Getting Started

  1. Introduce this lesson by explaining: From 1970 to 1990, the public's response rate for the census declined from 78 percent to 65 percent. In 2000, 67 percent of the households in the United States participated in the census. The Census Bureau is hoping for a greater return in 2010. You can help.
  2. Using the Student Worksheets

  3. Explain that students will be creating campaigns to educate your community about the upcoming 2010 Census.
  4. Divide the class into small groups. Distribute Community Power Student Worksheet 3a. Have students complete Part 1 and share results with the class.
  5. Direct students to Census 2000 Final Response Rates at www.census.gov/dmd/www/response/2000response.html. This information can also be printed out for students. Have students record their findings on the worksheet to complete Part Two and work as a group to complete Part Three. Ask students why they think people do not respond to the census. Then have students write slogans or statements that would encourage people to participate. Write some of the best ones on the board.
  6. Display for students the 2010 Census slogan, "It's in Our Hands," and ask them to discuss how the slogan might encourage people to participate in the 2010 Census.
  7. Distribute It's About You Student Worksheet 3b . Ask students to use this worksheet to plan their campaign. Provide class time for group work.
  8. Work with students to deliver their presentations through presentation software slides, a web page, blogs, radio, television, or newspaper announcements. Enlist your school administration and local media to publicize the students’ message.
  9. Contact your regional Census Bureau office (www.census.gov/field/www/) for any necessary guidance or assistance.
  10. Wrap-up

  11. Work with students to monitor the results of their community's response rate online at www.census.gov in March and April of 2010. Have students provide ongoing local participation updates and analysis to the community through morning announcements, text messaging, a web page, blogs, and radio, television, or newspaper announcements.

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