Lesson 1: Mapping Our Diversity
Diversity Grades 5-8
Skills and Objectives
- Read a choropleth map on population density
- Interpret data from a population density map
- Create a choropleth population density map
Before starting, print and copy the student worksheets and hang the poster.
Materials: Masking tape, Working with Choropleth Maps Student Worksheet 1a, Making a Choropleth Map Student Worksheet 1b, United States Diversity poster, pencils, rulers, crayons/colored pencils
Time Required: One 40-minute period
Use masking tape to mark three 1-yard-square boxes on the floor. Have students write their names on pieces of paper. Have three students put their names in one square, five students put their names in the next square, and the remaining students (should be at least 10 or more students) put their names in the final square. Point out the different densities of each square as low, medium, and high. Discuss how the boxes relate to population density per square mile.
Direct students’ attention to the United States Diversity poster. Explain: All the maps are choropleth maps that measure population levels in a given area. Point out the exception, the Prevalent World Region of Birth map, which identifies the location of birth for foreign-born residents.
Show students how the Population Density map on the poster measures the number of people per square mile for individual counties in each state and for municipios in Puerto Rico. Help students make the connection with the population density activity. Review the legend with students.
Distribute Working with Choropleth Maps Student Worksheet 1a. Have students refer to the Population Density map on the United States Diversity poster to complete the questions on their own or in groups. Review answers with students.
Distribute the two-page Making a Choropleth Map Student Worksheet 1b to student pairs. Tell students they will create a choropleth map of a park where children and adults are enjoying a holiday picnic. Review the directions with students and help them construct the grid and shade the map.
After students have finished their choropleth map, direct their attention to the Race and Hispanic choropleth maps on the poster. Explain: These maps measure the percentage of people of each race or ethnic group according to the individual counties in each state and the municipios in Puerto Rico, just like your map of the park measured the number of children in each of the squares.
Have students refer to the Race and Hispanic Population maps on the United States Diversity poster to complete the questions on Student Worksheet 1b.
Review answers with students. Ask: Why do you think so many students were gathered together in the upper right-hand corner of the park? (They were near the playground equipment.)
Using the Student Worksheets
Student Worksheet 1a: 1) 0.0 to 66,940.0; 2) 79.6 people per square mile; 3) MA, CT, RI, NJ, DE; 4) MT, ND, WY; 5) Answers will vary; 6) Answers will vary.
Student Worksheet 1b: Grid shading:
1) A. 12.3%, B. 0.9%, C. 12.5%, D. 0.1%, E. 3.6%, F. 69.1% G. 2.4%; 2) Answers will vary; 3) Answers may simply name groups present or describe relative levels of population for each group; Bonus: Possible answers are CA, NM, AK, NV, and OK.