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Examining Changes in Data - African Americans' Education Levels Through the Years

Component ID: #ti1909432344

Activity Description

Students will analyze and compare census data on the education levels of African-Americans in 1850 and in 1880. Students will also discuss how historical events can affect data.

Component ID: #ti1013450185

Suggested Grade Level


Component ID: #ti1013450186

Approximate Time Required

45 minutes

Component ID: #ti1013450187

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to compare, analyze, and interpret 1850 and 1880 census data on African- Americans’ education levels before the Civil War and post-Reconstruction.
  • Students will be able to write an essay analyzing their findings from the census data.

Component ID: #ti1013450188

Materials Required

The student version of this activity, 9 pages

Component ID: #ti1013450189

Activity Items

The following items are part of this activity. Items, their sources, and any relevant instructions for viewing them
online appear at the end of this teacher version.

  • Attending School in the United States During the Year, as Returned in the Schedule of Population, 1850
  • Number of Pupils Attending Public Schools, by Color, 1880
  • Adults in the United States Over Twenty Years of Age Who Cannot Read and Write, 1850
  • Illiteracy, by States and Territories, 1880

Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will analyze education data about African-Americans from the 1850 and 1880 censuses.


Middle School History


  • Education levels
  • Post-Reconstruction
  • Pre-Civil War
  • Race and ethnicity

Skills Taught

  • Analyzing data
  • Using data to support conclusions
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