Lesson 2: Mapping Our Home

Grades K–2

words to know

Strand: Community Participation

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Recognize the absolute and relative
       location of a state
  • bullet Understand ideas about civic life and
  • bullet Write to inform

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: Where Do I Work? Student Worksheet 2, United States Population wall map, shoebox, drawing paper, small empty milk or juice cartons, glue/tape, ribbon strips, scissors, drawing supplies

Time Required: 35 minutes

    Getting Started

  1. Explore the question: Why is it important to know how many people live in the United States? Start small with this easy activity, which demonstrates why it is important to know how many students are in the class:

    • Make a mailbox by cutting a slot in the top of a box.
    • Explain: This is a make-believe mailbox. Pretend that our class needs more crayons and markers, but I’m not sure what colors to choose or how many to buy. Write your name and favorite color on a piece of paper. Fold the paper. Draw a stamp. Put the paper in the mailbox. We’ll count the mail to find out how many students are in our class and which art supplies we should get.
    • Provide materials and class time for students to write their names and favorite color on a sheet of paper and place them in the “mailbox.” On the board, tally up the responses. Ask: Is anyone absent today? What would happen if some students did not get counted?
  2. Explain: In our country, we count people, too. This way we get the workers, places, and services we need such as firefighters, police, schools, and hospitals. Knowing how many people there are helps us decide what each place needs.
  3. Ask: What happens if all the people in the state do not get counted?
  4. Explain: Remember how you answered the questions about the art supplies? The census does the same for people in all states. Grown-ups mail in answers to questions. Answering census questions is one of the jobs of a good neighbor.
  5. Using the Wall Map

  6. Look at the wall map. Ask: What do the pictures on the map show? (Swimmers, pool, students, school bus) Those pictures show two of the services that towns might decide they need based on census data. Why would the number of people make a difference in the number of school buses or community pools a town has? What other places, workers, and services does a town have? (Fire and police stations, playgrounds, roads, ambulances, etc.)
  7. Using the Student Worksheet

  8. Explain that students will discover what towns need by creating a fictional community of their own. On the board, list all the important places in a town (power plant, gas station, school, stores, bank, etc.).
  9. Ask each student to draw one of the buildings on your list. Then glue one drawing onto each carton.
  10. Lay ribbon strips on a large table to represent the streets in a town. Guide students in placing their carton “buildings” on the streets. Then ask questions such as: Which is closer to the school, the post office or the bank? What is next to the fire station?
  11. Distribute Where Do I Work? Student Worksheet 2. Ask students to complete the worksheet as homework. Instruct older students to discuss the Bonus question.
  12. Wrap-up

  13. Review worksheet answers together the next day.

Student Worksheet 2: Police officer/police station; doctor/hospital; firefighter/firehouse

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