Ron Jarmin, acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau, described the process that the U.S. Census Bureau used to provide their decennial count of the U.S. population in 2020.
This lesson looks at the initial results of the 2020 U.S. Census. Students will use video clips, data sets, and map from the U.S. Census Bureau to identify trends and important pieces of information from the census data. They will use this information to make assumptions, draw conclusions about the census data, and predict possible consequences of these trends.
This lesson offers several options for you to use with your students whether you are teaching in class, using a hybrid model, or engaging through distance learning. It can be completed in steps as a class or independently by students.
Each activity, video and handout included in the lesson can be linked to an online discussion board or learning management system. You can also save and share the following Google handout for students to use with this lesson.
Handout: 2020 U.S. Census Handout (Google Doc)
By making a copy of this Google Doc, you can adjust the instructions to meet the needs of your class and provide that copy to your students. Your students can also make a copy and complete the assignments digitally in the space provided.
To begin class, have students brainstorm what they know about the census and the U.S. population by answering the following questions:
What is the census?
What is the current population of the United States?
What are the most populated states?
Discuss the students’ answers to the warm-up questions and address any misconceptions.
Introduce the 2020 U.S. Census by showing the following video clip either as a class or individually. Have student answer each question as they view the video clip.
Video Clip 1: How the 2020 U.S. Census Was Conducted (3:57)
What is the purpose of the U.S. Census?
Describe the process that took place during the 2020 U.S. Census.
After providing general background information about how the 2020 Census was conducted, students will explore the following video clips, maps, and data sets. They can use the 2020 U.S. Census Handout to take notes on the information presented in each source of information.
Handout: 2020 U.S. Census Handout (Google Doc)
As they explore the U.S. Census data, they will take notes on the following topics:
Significant results and information from the 2020 Census
Video Clip 2: 2020 Census: U.S. Population and Population Growth (2:43)
Map: Apportionment of the U.S. House of Representatives (U.S. Census.Gov)
Map: 2020 Resident Population for the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico (U.S. Census.Gov)
Review the students’ work and address any questions that they might have.
Based on the information from the video clips, maps, and data sets, have each student identify one trend or piece of information that they found interesting. These can relate to any of the following possible topics: Population Growth (National, Regional, or State), Changes from the 2010 Census (National, Regional, or State), Apportionment in the House of Representatives, Individual State Trends, or Political Power/Influence.
Once they identify a trend or piece of information, they will use data and information from the video clips, maps, and data sets to answer each of the following questions.
Describe the trend or piece of information that you found interesting.
Why did you find this interesting?
What assumptions might you be able to make about this trend or piece of information. What data supports this?
What factors might contribute to this trend? What data supports this?
Teachers can choose to have this information given as a written response or as short class discussion.
As an exit slip, have the students provide a one-sentence answer to the following question:
Making Predictions- Based on the information from the 2020 Census, make a prediction about the 2030 Census. This can be about population growth, individual states, apportionment, or any of the other topics from above. Using data from the U.S. Census, explain why you believe your prediction might come true.
Research a State- Choose a state to research. Use the interactive apportionment map on the U.S. Census website , and research how that state has changed in terms of population and representation in the House of Representatives. Based on this information, answer the following questions:
What is the current population of this state? How does this compare to 1910 (or the earliest census that it was a state)?
What is the current number of representatives for this state? How does this compare to 1910 (or the earliest census that it was a state)?
What year(s) did this state gain seats in the House? What year(s) did this state lose seats in the House?