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2020 U.S. Census Resources for Educators
As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, our nation gets just one chance each decade to count its population. The U.S. census counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years.
The data collected by the census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives (a process called apportionment) and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.
Statistics in Schools Program
The Statistics in Schools (SIS) program of the U.S. Census Bureau provides data, tools, and activities that educators can incorporate into their lessons to help teach statistics concepts and data analysis skills to students. The activities and resources are segmented by subject (English, geography, history and social studies, mathematics and statistics, and sociology) and grade (from kindergarten through high school) so statistics education can be brought to any classroom.
- Fun Facts: Back to School. This handout offers engaging statistics that show what goes into getting our nation’s students and teachers ready for the new school year. These fun facts provide a simple and contextual way to incorporate SIS resources into lessons.
- Warm-Up Activities. Educators can jump-start their students’ day with these five-minute warm-ups. Each activity demonstrates the value of data in everyday life and inspires discussion about a specific subject in an easy and fun way.
- How Maps Bring Census Statistics to Life for Students, Wherever They Are. This blog post highlights colorful maps from SIS that feature U.S. census data and shows how educators can use these resources with their students. The maps underscore the importance of responding to the 2020 Census and are always available at no charge online at census.gov/schools.
- Virtual Field Trip to the U.S. Census Bureau. The virtual field trip is an entertaining, fast-moving video that takes students on a mission to discover details about the Census Bureau’s work, featuring insights from geography and data visualization experts. At the close of the video, students are prompted to answer interactive questions based on the statistics provided.
Using these resources, you can empower students to learn how the once-in-a-decade count impacts and shapes their communities. For more information, visit census.gov/schools.
At-Home Educational Toolkits
The Statistics in Schools program has adapted, offering parent and caregiver toolkits, which provide instructions and tips on using and adapting SIS activities and resources for at-home use.
There are four toolkits available:
Each toolkit contains everything needed to get started, including a teaching guide, a student worksheet, a list of materials, and an estimate of how long each lesson takes (lessons are between five and 20 minutes).
Another new and exciting resource for young children is the VeggieTales: Everyone Counts! video. This video features the VeggieTales characters talking and singing about the importance of the 2020 Census—a fun way to engage children in making sure everyone is counted.
Here are the top 10 reasons the SIS program is good for the classroom:
1. The online resources are free for K-12 teachers.
Educators can access, at no charge, more than 100 downloadable activities and resources on the website: www.census.gov/schools. The activities on the website are searchable by grade, school subject, topic, and education standard.
2. Experts from the U.S. Census Bureau contributed to the program.
The Census Bureau, which launched SIS, is the primary source of economic and demographic data for the United States. Census Bureau statistical experts were involved in the creation of the program activities, making SIS uniquely qualified to support statistics education.
3. The program promotes cross-curricular education.
SIS uses a broad array of Census Bureau data to provide activities and resources for courses in English, geography, history and social studies, mathematics and statistics, and sociology.
4. SIS offers a number of resources and tools, including:
- News articles
- Infographics and data visualizations
- Data tools that reveal population statistics by sex, age, ethnicity, and race
5. SIS activities were developed by teachers for teachers.
Educators and subject matter experts from across the country created and reviewed the activities to make sure they are useful.
6. SIS activities can supplement your curriculum.
The activities and resources are designed to support, not replace, existing lesson plans.
7. The program helps teach students the crucial skills they need to thrive in an increasingly data-driven world.
Recent research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of jobs related to statistics is expected to increase by more than 30 percent between 2014 and 2024.
8. SIS reaches students by using technology to teach statistics.
SIS includes a number of tools that students can use to access data such as State Facts for Students, which allows students to discover information about their state; QuickFacts, an application that displays tables, maps, and charts of frequently requested statistics; and Census Business Builder, an easy way to access and use key demographic and economic data.
9. The program can be extended or modified easily.
Not all students have the same skill levels or interests, or learn in the same way. Therefore, SIS gives educators ways to modify activities to meet the unique needs of every classroom. For example, some activities can be tailored using local data.
10. SIS matches activities with relevant education standards and guidelines. These include the following, organized by subject:
English, History and Social Studies
- Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
- UCLA National Standards for History
Mathematics and Statistics
- American Statistical Association's Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education
- Common Core State Standards for Mathematics
- Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' Principles and Standards for School Mathematics
Educate your students about the value and everyday use of statistics. The Statistics in Schools program provides resources for teaching and learning with real life data. Explore the Census site for standards-aligned, classroom-ready activities.
The GeoCivics Project
The GeoCivics project provides state-based resources to develop skills and knowledge helpful for discussing the apportionment and redistricting process.
These resources prepare and support students, teachers, and community members with education materials and geospatial data, leading them to engage in conversation about the apportionment and redistricting process. Paying attention to where lines are drawn, by whom, and under what circumstances affects how people are governed.
Everyone in the community should be equipped to ask questions of the cartographers and of the people instructing the cartographers.
This project also provides resources to support educators in teaching about the 2020 Census.