Lesson 2: The Diversity Around Us

Diversity Grades 5-8

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Identify population patterns for various racial and ethnic groups
  • bullet Synthesize information from more than one map
  • bullet Develop a quiz game on the nation’s racial and ethnic diversity

Before starting, print and copy the student worksheets and hang the poster.

Materials: Mapping Racial and Ethnic Groups Student Worksheet 2a, Comparing Maps Student Worksheet 2b, 5" x 7" index cards, United States Diversity poster, pencils or pens.

Time Required: One to two 40-minute periods

    Getting Started

  1. Direct students’ attention to the race and ethnicity maps on the poster. Remind students that the maps measure the percentage of people of each race or ethnic group and their location by county. Alert students to the fact that the legends on each map use different data ranges.

  2. Point out that the maps are grouped under the headings of “Race,” “Foreign-Born,” and “Hispanics.” Ask student volunteers to read aloud the information provided on the poster for each grouping.

  3. Discuss the distinctions among the three groupings on the poster. (The introduction to this teaching guide offers explanations and guidance on discussing the difference between race and ethnicity.)

  4. Using the Student Worksheets

  5. Distribute Mapping Racial and Ethnic Groups Student Worksheet 2a for students to complete individually or in pairs. Review answers with students.

  6. Direct students’ attention to the Percent of Foreign-Born and the Prevalent World Region of Birth maps on the poster. Explain: The Percent of Foreign-Born map shows the percentage of residents who were born outside the United States living in the United States and Puerto Rico in 2000. The Prevalent World Region of Birth map indicates the birth region for foreign-born residents.

  7. Distribute Comparing Maps Student Worksheet 2b for students to complete. Ask: Where are American Indian populations clustered? (In Western states.) Where are the largest concentrations of Asian-born residents? (In West Coast cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.) Where is there a concentration of Hispanic residents? (In Southwestern states.) Where are African Americans concentrated? (In the South.)

  8. Distribute one index card to each student with the name of a state on one side. Students will use the card to write a set of clues for a riddle. Review the directions at the bottom of the worksheet along with the example.

  9. Wrap-up

  10. When students have completed their riddles, collect the index cards to start the game activity.

  11. Divide the class into teams of 4 or 5 students. Make sure students can see the individual maps on the United States Diversity poster. Visit www.census.gov/schools to download the poster and the individual maps.

  12. Give each team a time limit (30 seconds) to solve the riddle. If they don’t solve it, the challenge passes to the next team. Check the answer with the maps for accuracy. After going through all the cards, tally the scores (1 point per right answer) to determine the winning team.


Student Worksheet 2a: 1) A. SE, B. SW, C. NW and SW, D. NE, E. NW and SW; 2) HI, CA, AK; 3) Scattered and light or less dense, sparse; 4) Because the Hawaiian Islands are geographically close to the Pacific Islands; 5) Both groups are native to North America. 

Student Worksheet 2b: 1) Latin America; 2) Asia; Europe, and Northern America; 3) Northern America; 4) Northern America and Europe.

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