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The 2020 Census, Next Steps and a Heartfelt Thanks. Read More.

Parents, caregivers and teachers: Explore this page for at-home or distance learning activities.

Narratives and Names

Component ID: #ti1948765711

Activity Description

Hello, my name is...

This activity serves as an introduction to a narrative writing assignment. To provide context for this activity, teachers will give students an overview of the Census Bureau. Then, students will complete a Quickwrite about their name and its history. After that, students will examine and answer questions about census data on popular last names, listen to a story about names, and complete a Quickwrite about that story. To further prepare for their narrative writing assignment about names (which is not part of this activity), students will jot down their thoughts in a graphic organizer.

Component ID: #ti760665979

Suggested Grade Level


Component ID: #ti789834354

Approximate Time Required

160 minutes (potentially split across different days)

Component ID: #ti102681603

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to explain what the U.S. Census Bureau does, what type of data it collects, and what the data help explain.
  • Students will be able to reflect on their own name using descriptive details as part of a creative writing exercise.
  • Students will be able to use a graphic organizer to identify a topic, determine the series of events they want to tell (and in what order), develop characters, note important details, and describe a problem and solution in preparation for writing a narrative.

Component ID: #ti763130658

Materials Required

  • The student version of this activity, 9 pages
  • An age-appropriate story about a name (see the “During the Activity” section for ideas)
  • Teacher computer with Internet access and a projector to display Web sites

Component ID: #ti1274179491

Activity Items

The following items are part of this activity. The items and their sources appear at the end of this
teacher version.

  • Item 1: Top 15 Most Popular Last Names by Rank
  • Item 2: Top 15 Last Names With the Largest Frequency Increase

Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will analyze census data and information to learn how trends in last names are good indicators of changes in the population.




  • Human population characteristics
  • Narrative writing
  • Quickwrites

Skills Taught

  • Analyzing data
  • Brainstorming
  • Comparing time periods
  • Completing a graphic organizer
  • Identifying an essay topic
  • Making comparisons
  • Understanding the sequence of events
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