Lesson 1: It's About Us

Grades K–2

words to know

Strand: About the Census

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Use reading and/or listening skills
       to learn new ideas
  • bullet Know the name of your home state
  • bullet Explain who is counted in the census

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: Who Counts? Student Worksheet 1a, drawing materials, Who Counts? Reading Questions Student Worksheet 1b, United States Population wall map

Time Required: Two 35-minute class periods

    Getting Started

  1. Write the words good neighbor, law, and responsibility on the board. Ask: What do these words mean?
  2. Ask: Are you a good neighbor? What laws do you know about? What does it mean to be responsible? Encourage a classroom discussion that reinforces the concepts of being a good neighbor and civic responsibility. Make a list on the board of different laws with which students are familiar (e.g., wear a seat belt, children must go to school, drivers must stop at red lights, etc.).
  3. Explain to students that every grown-up who lives in this country has a responsibility to participate in an exciting activity called the census. A census finds out how many people live here by counting each man, woman, and child. The law says that a census count has to happen every 10 years, and one is happening in 2010!
  4. Using the Student Worksheets

  5. Explain that students will now read a story to find out how the census works.
  6. Distribute Who Counts? Student Worksheet 1a to each student. Together read the story aloud. Ask older students to answer the bonus question in their journals. Then ask students to complete Who Counts? Reading Questions Student Worksheet 1b.
  7. Using the Wall Map

  8. Point to the wall map and ask: What country does this map show? Can you touch our state? What is the name of our state?
  9. Ask: Let’s think about change for a minute. A change happens when something is new or different. What are some examples of change? Engage students in a discussion about neighborhood changes such as people moving in or out, births, deaths, etc. Also discuss changes at school and within families.
  10. Point to the wall map again. Invite volunteers to come forward. Ask: This map shows how many people lived in our state before you were born, in the year 2000. Look at the map carefully. Can you find where it says how many people lived in the United States in the year 2000? How many children lived in our state in 2000? Do you think the number of people and children living in our state has changed since then? If so, why? (Yes, everyone who was born, died, moved away, or moved into the state during the last 10 years changes the population.) Explain to students that the 2010 Census will find out how many people live in the United States right now.
  11. Wrap-up

  12. Write the sentence, "It's about us" on the board. Discuss how it relates to the concept of being a good neighbor (if everyone is a good neighbor, our country will be a better place).
  13. Have students create "good neighbor" badges. Distribute a sheet of colored paper to each student. Ask students to trace around their right hands to make a handprint.
  14. Ask students to decorate their handprint badges with drawings that show how they are good neighbors. Use tape to attach the handprint badges to students’ shirts.


Student Worksheet 1b: 1) 6; 2) 1; 3) Italy

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