Lesson 4: Census Conversations
ESL Teacher Lesson
Skills and Objectives
- Practice conversational English
- Understand the role of U.S. Census Bureau workers
Assess your students’ knowledge of the census process by asking this question: What happens when individual households do not fill out and return their census forms?
Explain that workers for the U.S. Census Bureau will visit households that have not returned the forms. Mention that workers are trained to help answer questions about the census process. They also will guide members of those households through the form’s 10 questions and collect the information.
By now students should know that information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau is confidential by law. Emphasize that the law also extends to individual census workers. It is illegal for workers to share the information with anyone, either inside or outside of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Tell students they will have a chance to practice their conversational English by participating in a short skit. Choose four students—or ask for volunteers—to play three speaking roles and one acting role.
Student Worksheet 4 is a script for a short Reader’s Theater production of A Visit from a Census Worker. Copy the script for the four speakers/actors, as well as the rest of the class. Other students can follow the script as it is acted out.
Before students act out the script, review any words or phrases that may be unfamiliar to the class. Some of those words are in the Words to Know and Say box on this page.
Have student volunteers perform the skit. What words and phrases seemed difficult for the actors to speak? Review the words and their definitions if necessary.
Encourage the four students to take turns, so that everybody has a speaking role. Or recruit other members of the class to perform the skit.
- As a class, discuss the information communicated in the play’s script. Ask these questions:
- What does a census worker do?
- What is a census worker required to show?
- What is against the law for a census worker?
- Who was being counted in the Alcala household? Why?
Using the Student Worksheet Wrap-up
Using the Student Worksheet
Challenge students to write and perform their own short scripts using the information they’ve learned about the process and the importance of the census.