Lesson 4: A Class Census

Grades K–2

words to know

Strand: Managing Data

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Collect and represent information about
       events in simple charts

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: A Piece of Pie Student Worksheet 4a, Dear Parent/Guardian Student Worksheet 4b, drawing supplies

Time Required: 35 minutes

    Getting Started

  1. Explain: A census counts all the people in a place and also asks them questions about how old they are and how many people live in each household. We’re going to conduct a census and add a question for our class.
  2. Show how a census works. Tell students: I am going to ask how you came to school today. The choices are: by bus, by car, or by walking. Ask students to raise their hands as you say the choice that applies to them.
  3. Create a tally chart on the board. Explain that each mark is called a tally mark. Make certain students understand that each mark stands for one student’s answer.

    tally mark

  4. Tell students the information in a chart is called data. Explain: These data come from your answers. This tally chart is one way to show data. A pie chart is another way.
  5. Draw a circle on the board. Explain: In a pie chart we show data as parts of a circle. Explain that you will show the same data in the pie chart as in the tally chart.
  6. Have students stand in groups corresponding to their responses in the tally chart. Create a pie chart.

    tally chart
  7. Using the Student Worksheets

  8. Explain that information for a census can be collected in several ways. Two ways are in person or in writing. Sometimes census workers travel from house to house, collecting information. Sometimes census workers send a form in the mail to households.
  9. Invite students individually to your desk to conduct a confidential census. Quietly ask each one: Which do you like the best—drawing, acting things out, or listening to stories? After recording student answers, create a tally chart on the board to reflect responses.
  10. Distribute A Piece of Pie Student Worksheet 4a to each student. Have them complete the worksheet based on the new tally chart.
  11. Explain: In each house, one person answers census questions about all the people who live there. Knowing about who lives in a town helps officials make decisions about what the town needs. Encourage older students to answer the Bonus question in their journals.
  12. Wrap-up

  13. Distribute Dear Parent/Guardian Student Worksheet 4b to each student. Read the worksheet together and answer any questions. Ask students to complete the Toy Census at home with the help of an adult.
  14. Ask students to bring their completed censuses back to class and discuss their experience with census taking.

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