Lesson 3: Then and Now

Grades K–2

words to know

Strand: Map Literacy

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Know the term “population” and understand
       that population changes over time

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: We're Growing Student Worksheet 3a, Home Sweet Home Student Worksheet 3b, United States Population wall map, drawing supplies

Time Required: Two 35-minute class periods

    Getting Started

  1. Ask: What is change? Discuss examples of change such as moving, starting a new grade, welcoming a new sibling, etc. Explain that students will explore what happens when a town changes.
  2. Use masking tape or string to make a circle on the floor big enough for three children to stand in. Explain to your class that the space inside the circle is a town. Ask students to suggest a name for the town.
  3. Complete the following activity:

    • Invite three students to stand in the circle. Explain that they represent the population of the town. The population of a town makes up a community. Ask the three students to each select a role within the community (e.g., banker, mayor, police officer, etc.).
    • Explain that one of the people in the town wants to build a house. Invite another student into the circle as a carpenter. Add families, teachers, and businesspeople to your community until the circle is overflowing.
  4. Discuss with your students how their made-up town changed over time. Ask: As the population grew, what did the community need? How did it change? How do you think our town or city has changed over time?
  5. Using the Wall Map

  6. Ask: Do you think that the population of our town has changed over time? Do you think it has grown larger or smaller? Help students find the answers to these questions using the activities and the wall map.

      Have students line up. Explain: Let’s walk around the border of our classroom. Direct attention to the wall map. Ask: See the lines around each state? They show the state border. Point to your state. Use your finger to trace around the state’s border. Look at the mini-map called U.S. Population in 1800. Ask: Is our state’s border the same or different? What other differences do you see between the two maps?
    • FOR GRADES 1–2
      Direct attention to the wall map. Ask: What is a state border? Use your finger to outline your state’s border. Ask: Do you see the U.S. Population in 1800 inset mini-map? Is our state on the map? If not, why? Choose one state to focus on. Ask: Has this state's population grown larger or smaller? Which states border it? Has the overall U.S. population grown larger or smaller since 1800? What other differences do you see?
  7. Using the Student Worksheets

  8. Distribute We're Growing Student Worksheet 3a to each student. Answer the questions together and have older students answer the Bonus question in their journals or use it as the basis for a class discussion.
  9. Wrap-up

  10. Distribute copies of Home Sweet Home Student Worksheet 3b to each student. Read the introduction together. Instruct students to write what their favorite part of town is and draw a self-portrait that shows them enjoying it.
  11. Display the completed student worksheets on a hallway bulletin board to help create excitement about the 2010 Census. Title the board Our Town Counts and be ready to answer questions about the upcoming census.

Student Worksheet 3a: 1) 602,365; 2) 12,281,054; 3) Pennsylvania in 2000; 4) 162,686453; 6) Georgia in 2000

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