Lesson 1: About the Census

ESL Teacher Lesson 

words to know

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Read and share the facts about the 2010 Census
  • bullet Organize the facts into an easy-to-use chart
  • bullet Update and use the form as new facts are learned

Materials: Census Fact Sheet, Take-Home Flyer, and Putting Everything in Order Student Worksheet 1

    Getting Started

  1. Tell students that an important event is coming up for the nation. The 2010 Census will count every person in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas. Acknowledge that they may already know some details about the census.

    Using the Student Worksheet
  2. Make copies of Putting Everything in Order Student Worksheet 1. Explain that students will use a chart—known as a K-W-L chart—to organize information they already know about the census, information they want to find out, and information they learn as they proceed through the lesson.

  3. Review the directions on the worksheet. Then have students fill out the first column of the chart with facts they may already know about the decennial census. Finally, have them include facts they want to learn in the second column.

  4. Make and distribute copies of the Census Fact Sheet and the Take-Home Flyer announcing the 2010 Census. The two sheets include important information about the census. Have students review the information individually or in pairs. Then ask individual students to share what they’ve learned. Write these facts on the board:

    1. The census is required every 10 years by the U.S. Constitution.

    2. It counts every person in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas.

    3. The data are used to determine how and where to spend money for services. They also are used to determine representation in state and national capitals.

    4. The U.S. Census Bureau will provide questionnaires for each household in March 2010.

    5. The form includes 10 questions for each person in the household.

    6. The Census Bureau will not share the information with anyone else.

    7. The forms should be mailed back immediately.

    8. Census workers will follow up to gather information from households that haven’t returned the form.

  5. Explain that this unit will help them understand how people are counted, how to fill out the census form, and the privacy laws that govern the census. As they proceed through the unit, encourage them to update their K-W-L charts to reflect what they’ve learned and can share.


Encourage students to post the Take-Home Flyer in a place where all members of their household can see the flyer.


Answers in students’ K-W-L charts will vary.

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