Lesson 4: Take a Census

Grades 7–8

words to know

Strand: Managing Data

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Use tables and graphs to compare data
  • bullet Draw conclusions based on mathematical
       information

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

Materials: Collecting the Data Student Worksheet 4a, Making a Decision Student Worksheet 4b, computer with access to the Internet, local maps.

Time Required: Two 40-minute classes

    Getting Started

  1. Help students think about how census data can be used to make a specific decision for their community. Write the following on the board:
    • Site 1:
      School-age children within walking distance: 837
    • Site 2:
      School-age children within walking distance: 1,500
    • Site 3:
      School-age children within walking distance: 10
  2. Ask: If the local authorities were going to build a new school, what would be the best site according to these populations? Discuss students' reasoning, and ask them to share other factors that might contribute to the decision, such as roads, type of community, and location of existing schools.
  3. Using the Student Worksheets

  4. Tell students that they have the chance to play a fictional community planner and choose a site for a new community sports center.
  5. Form small groups of three or four students. Distribute Collecting the Data Student Worksheet 4a and read the introduction together.
  6. Give students time to share computers and complete the worksheet. Talk to each group to clarify questions or address any concerns.
  7. Distribute Making a Decision Student Worksheet 4b. Have students work in the same groups to answer the analysis questions. If possible, have groups visit their top two sites for the sports center, either as homework or as a class excursion.
  8. Invite groups to "unveil" their final choice for the sports center to the rest of the class. They might write the locations on slips of paper and place them in envelopes for an awards-style presentation.
  9. Wrap-up

  10. Ask students to write a letter to a newspaper or community leader, presenting their proposal for a new sports center. Once students are finished, have them share their letters with the community.
  11. As a class, discuss how else students might use census data to benefit your community. Are there other community services your town or city needs?

Action Extension

Invite students to make models of the new community sports center using recycled materials such as cardboard, cans, and paper. Display the models in a central space with copies of their letters so that the whole school can enjoy them.

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