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The Census Questionnaire: Then and Now

Activity Description


Students will compare the census questionnaires used in 1900 and 2010 and answer questions about how and why the questions have changed from one century to the next.

Suggested Grade Level


Approximate Time Required

45 minutes

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
  • Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
  • Understand the role of the decennial census and its impact on the nation.

Materials Required

  • Printed student worksheets
  • A TV, projector, or interactive whiteboard to play the video Shape Your Future
  • Computers or tablets with internet access for each student
    • This activity can also be done in small groups, with one computer or tablet per group, or, if student technology is not available, it can be done as a teacher-led activity.
    • If computers are not available, consider printing out the census forms from 1900 and 2010 ahead of time.


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