Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum
Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum
Reflect on how you teach the census in your classroom. How would you teach it differently with primary sources?
Now consider these lesson ideas contributed by Primary Sources teachers:
I began by introducing students to the census documents. This was the first time they had seen census documents, so we had a whole-group discussion about the categories and how the data might be used. I also used the activities from Primary Sources, Activity One: How Would You Fill Out the Census Form? and Activity Two: What Resources Are Needed in a Community?, to help students become more comfortable using the census.
Once the students were familiar with the census documents, we used them to shed new light on old topics; for example, immigration laws and statistics. I divided students into small groups and asked each group to first examine and then compare and contrast the different census documents. Using this information, the groups prepared for a whole-group discussion on the validity of the census and how the results shape national policy and everyday life. Finally, they each wrote a brief position paper in which they assessed whether the census is necessary, useful, and influential in setting government policy.
Student work was guided by the following questions:
To conclude, I gave students excerpts from the 1920s immigration laws and asked them the following questions:
Tip: You can get your students more involved with the census by using data from your own city. Go to the Resources Page for census data on U.S. cities.