Teachers looking for meaningful assignments that include statistics across a wide range of subjects can find all of that and more by using activities from the Statistics in Schools program.
For the past two decennial censuses, the U.S. Census Bureau had an educational program to help students better understand what the census is and to support educators in teaching lessons on the importance of being counted. Created in conjunction with Scholastic, it provided teachers with lesson plans that incorporated statistics from the Census Bureau into classroom activities.
In an effort to broaden the reach of the program, the Census Bureau has sought the expertise of teachers, education standards experts and other professionals from across the country to help redesign it to meet changing classroom needs. Statistics in Schools is built by teachers, for teachers.
By using current and historical data, the Census Bureau provides teachers the tools to help students understand statistical concepts and improve their data analysis skills. The program offers free online activities and other resources in geography, history, math, English and sociology. Nearly every lesson/activity has a direct correlation to the Kentucky Academic Standards.
In addition to downloadable activities and games, teachers can access the following resources on the Statistics in Schools website:
- Warm-up activities: 5-minute challenges for students.
- Maps and historical documents: historical and current maps, as well as photos, cartoons and census records.
- News articles: examples of census data applied to current events in the news.
- Videos: the importance of statistics and how data relates to students today.
- Games: designed for different grade levels.
- Infographics and data visualizations: Census Bureau data presented visually, many linked to a classroom activity.
- Fun Facts with teaching guides: facts for the classroom based on special holidays and observances.
Lesson plans already have been created. There is a downloadable teacher version with the answers provided and a downloadable student version. Each lesson plan provides, at a minimum, the following information:
- Suggested grade level.
- Approximate time required to complete the lesson.
- Learning objectives.
- Materials required (typically provided in the lesson).
- Association to the appropriate level(s) in Blooms Taxonomy.
- Correlation to common standards used in the specific subject.
For example, a math teacher covering scientific notation and looking for an additional resource can go to the Statistics in Schools activities site, select “Math,” and then scroll down to the lesson on “Scientific Notation” or they can type “Scientific Notation” into the keyword search. By clicking on the image, the teacher will be sent directly to a lesson plan on Scientific Notation. This lesson directly correlates with “Expressions and Equations 8.EE” of the Kentucky Academic Standards for Mathematics.
The Census Bureau plans to continue to add Statistics in Schools activities and resources, totaling more than 100 activities for the current school year. Activities are broken down by grade level into: K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.
Some of the activities include:
- “The Progressives and the 1920 Census” for high school history classes.
- “An Analysis of the Millennial Generation” for high school sociology classes.
- “Two-Way Tables – Walking and Bicycling to Work” for middle school math classes.
- “Changes in My State” for elementary school math classes.
The lessons and activities are free and accessible from any computer or device with internet access. No password is needed. There are unlimited downloadable teacher and student lesson plans throughout the site.
Ron Williams is a data dissemination specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau. He is an accomplished educator and has been directly involved with education since 1988. Williams has taught at the secondary, post-secondary and graduate levels.