The educator should know how to use a spreadsheet program. I used Excel, but any spreadsheet program could be used.

Group Size: Small groups

Learning Objectives:

1. Students will learn why we take the census.

2. Students will learn how to answer the census

3. Students will learn to process the data in the census they and their classmates have taken.

4. Students will learn which type of data is suitable for a line chart, pie chart, and column chart.

5. Students will learn to prepare and format a pie chart in Excel.

6. Students will interpret the data, and compare their findings with that of the nation as a whole.

Guiding Question:

What can the census tell us about the population of the United States?


? computer with Internet access ? census form ? handouts


Periods are 42 minutes long

Student Introduction: What is a Census, and why is it necessary? (2 periods)
1. In a classroom discussion ask students to discuss what they know about the census.

2. Explain to students that the census is a way for the government to determine how a population is changing. It uses this information to distribute money in the way that it will do the most good Therefore, it is essential that everyone is counted, regardless of their age, race, religion or gender.

3. Distribute a copy of the census to each student. Go over each question making sure they understand the following:

· Go over the questions that will appear on the census form. Explain the following:

§ The 7th grader should be the person listed on question 7 on the census form

§ It will be easier to process the form if the relationship (parent, sibling, etc) is filled out for person’s 2-6

§ People born in the 1950s, 1960s or 1970s are most probably not siblings (Persons 2-12 on the forms)

4. Have students fill out as much of the form as they can in class. Whatever they can’t do in class must be done for homework.

5. Census forms are due back the next class.

Note: In our school we decided not to make pie charts of any questions relating to race. We felt that the questions related to birth month, gender, and siblings would be non-offensive. That is why we have four questions on our tally sheet.

. Processing the Census Results (3 periods)

1. Have the class divide themselves into four groups. The number of students in each group should be approximately the same. If you have more than four questions on your tally sheet, divide your class into the the same number of groups as questions on the sheet.

2. Give the students the tally sheet. Each team gets one tally sheet. Explain to the students that you have chosen four of the questions to concentrate on for the unit.

3. Choose one person on the team to be the tally-taker.

4. Everyone else on the team takes one of the census forms

5. Go over the 4 questions on the tally sheet one at a time. Each person will report his findings to the tally taker.

6. When each person has processed his form, he should put a check mark on the back of the form. This ensures that that form will not be counted twice. The person takes another form and puts the processed on in a special pile in the front of the room.

7. When all forms are processed, the tally sheets from each team will be collected, and all scores will be combined to get the grand total. Each team will have the grand totals. These grand totals will be needed to create the pie chart.

Creating the Chart (3 periods)

1. Assign one question on the tally sheet to each team.

2. Have each team open the template for the question assigned to it. The templates we used in our class are:Unfinished Birth Month, Unfinished Family Birth Month, Unfinished Gender and Unfinished Siblings.

3. Use the grand total tally sheets to transfer the data into the tally column.

4. Give out the “Which Type of Chart Should I Create?” flowchart. Make sure students understand that the pie chart is the right one because the answers to the questions can be expressed as a percentage.

5. Using the handout, “Census 2010, Creating a Chart”, go step-by step helping the students create a pie chart.

6. Make sure they format it attractively.


Conclusion and Wrap Up (2-3 Periods)

  1. Have students research the following information for homework:
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      2. month(s) are most people born in? Why?
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b. Are the number of males and females in the world equal? Why or why not? c. In the United States, how many children do most families have? 2. The next class, discuss the answers the students came up with. 3. Allow students at least a period to discuss their presentations and rehearse. 4. Have each team come up to the front of the class and present their chart.
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    2. their charts reflect the results found in their homework? Discuss why or why not in class.
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Reinforcement A project like this can be used without the census questions. You can ask the class questions like, “How do you get to school?”, “How many siblings do you have?”and “What kind of pet do you have?” You can make several charts throughout the year to reinforce the lesson.

Benchmark or Standards:

New York State Standards
This lesson plan is compliant with the following New York State Standards:

MST Standard 2: Information Systems

Students will access, generate, process, and transfer information using appropriate technologies.

MST Standard 5: Technology

Students will apply technological knowledge and skills to design, construct, use, and evaluate products and systems to satisfy human and environmental needs.

MST Standard 7: Interdisciplinary Problem Solving

Students will apply the knowledge and thinking skills of mathematics, science, and technology to address real-life problems and make informed decisions.

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