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New Resources from Statistics in Schools Bring Census Data to the Classroom

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Ever wonder how many amusement parks are in your state? If you live in Florida, it’s 53. Or how many businesses are in your county? In Sussex County, Delaware, for example, 6,074 have paid employees.

These answers come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns but you’ll find many more in easy-to-use classroom resources and activities created by the Census Bureau’s Statistics in Schools (SIS) program.

As teachers across the nation begin mapping out lesson plans, they can incorporate new and updated SIS resources in core subjects like: Math, English, History, Geography, and Sociology, to introduce students to Census Bureau data and how to use them in the real world. 

“One of the goals of the SIS program is to show teachers that the word ‘statistics’ is not something that is only taught in high school or in math class.”

— Vicki Glasier, chief of the Statistics in Schools Branch

The Value of Statistics in Schools

“From using SIS charts, graphs, and maps…to teaching students how to read graphic information, (teachers) are always able to find value in our materials no matter what subject they teach or what field of education they’re in,” said Kimberley Glascoe, a SIS marketing specialist.

For example, educators can use the materials and games to help students learn while having fun playing SIS trivia games like Kahoot! and “Population Bracketology” and participating in other activities using Census Bureau “Fun Facts” handouts to pave the way. 

“One of the goals of the SIS program is to show teachers that the word ‘statistics’ is not something that is only taught in high school or in math class,” said Vicki Glasier, chief of the Statistics in Schools Branch. “Elementary and middle school teachers can use SIS resources to supplement what they are teaching across all grades and subjects to help students understand the importance of data and build on their statistical literacy from an early age.” 

Newest SIS Resources

Among new SIS lessons, warm-up activities and interactive data journeys now available:

  • Fun Facts. From the value of fireworks imported to the United States to the number of businesses that make barbecue grills, the Census Bureau’s “Fun Facts” about 4th of July has the answers. We have fun nuggets about Hispanic Heritage Month, Constitution Day, and Back To School, too. These resources are entertaining and colorful, and easy to download for use in the classroom.
  • Interactive Maps. After diving into some business, demographic, and population data, students and teachers alike may enjoy exploring new interactive State Facts for Students display. Students can click on their state or one of the other 49 states (plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, or American Samoa) to learn about Census Bureau data available at the state level. Students may be amazed to learn things like how their state’s population compares to others, how workers in their state commute or how many households have smartphones.
  • Play Statistics in Schools Games on Kahoot!. SIS has an assortment of nine Kahoot! U.S. Census Bureau Data games. These games highlight Census Bureau statistics on holidays, anniversaries and observances of America’s diverse populations. One new game to be released later this month, “From Diplomas to Degrees: Exploring U.S. Education Statistics,” tests your knowledge by asking questions like: Has the percentage of adults who completed high school in the last 10 years increased or decreased? What was the average annual salary of workers with a bachelor’s degree?

SIS Ambassador Program

Through the SIS Ambassador program, a community of teachers, librarians and others in the education field can promote SIS activities and participate in select SIS virtual events and special initiatives.

Collaborating with other educators, librarians and the Census Bureau, the current 72 SIS ambassadors devise innovative ways to bridge the gap between data and the real world and boost statistical literacy of K-12 students nationwide.

SIS ambassadors can receive a digital badge and other national recognition for their efforts spreading the word about the value of census data.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ideas and ways to work with teachers,” Glasier said. “In addition to new resources and ideas like virtual field trips and connecting students to Census experts virtually, we are keeping a list of new subject areas we would like to create content for, including economics.” 

Adam Grundy is a supervisory statistician in the Census Bureau’s Economic Management Division.

Shannan Alston is a survey statistician in the Economic Management Division.


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