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Are you a high school teacher looking for new sources of timely information and ways to make your courses more engaging and relevant to students? If so, this handbook will introduce you to a rich, new source of online data: The American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS provides a wide array of social, economic, and demographic information about the nation, your state, and your local communities. These data can be used to teach concepts and skills, such as statistical literacy, and content areas, including social studies, geography, and mathematics. Because the ACS is updated annually, it provides fresh, timely data for your students every year.

This handbook begins with a brief overview of the ACS: what it is, how it came about, and why it is important to high school teachers and students. We describe the types of information and geographic areas covered by the ACS and explain how to understand and correctly interpret ACS data. Next, we review how to access ACS data online and provide specific examples that illustrate how you can incorporate ACS data into your activities or lesson plans to address a variety of social studies, geography, and mathematics standards. At the end of the handbook, a glossary and a series of technical appendixes are provided that discuss advanced applications and issues with the ACS. Throughout the handbook, we will point readers to these appendixes or other online resources that provide additional or more detailed information about particular topics.

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