No matter what mode your students are learning in right now, it’s always great to have some engaging take home activities in your toolkit that tie into the “real world” and make learning relevant for your students. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistics in Schools (SIS) program offers over 200 free activities and resources across multiple subjects designed to make both at-home and classroom learning fun and engaging while helping students understand how statistics impact their lives.
You don’t have to be a teacher or math whiz to understand and use SIS activities to help students learn how to find, understand, and use data, while deepening their knowledge of math, English, geography, history, and other subjects. You can customize many activities to your local area to make learning with census data even more real for both children and adults. (That’s right. You’re likely to learn something new, too!)
The following activities are a great place to start at home. For these, middle schoolers will analyze population and other state data, use maps, and more.
State Facts for Students Data Tool. Use our State Facts for Students data tool to bring data close to home by helping students learn more about their surroundings as they collect, organize, and analyze a variety of kid-friendly data. Using this tool, middle grade students can discover a trove of data about kids their age, which states have, say, the most pet stores, how residents get to work, and state facts like their nicknames and population history. You can boost their learning experience by challenging them to complete an activity using this data tool.
Fun Facts. Looking for a quick and easy activity? Our Fun Facts tie kid-friendly statistics to observances like St. Patrick’s Day and Women’s History Month, providing key info about their roots and meaning. You can use these data alone or to enhance activities. Each fact sheet comes with a complimentary teaching guide filled with cool activity ideas for every grade level.
5-Minute Challenge Warm-Up Activities. You can also use our Warm-Up activities at home or in the classroom. Each warm-up takes about five-minutes to complete, demonstrate the value of data, and to start a discussion about a specific subject like different careers in the veterinary and animal care fields, or voting patterns of women and men in presidential elections.
SIS Middle School Map: Understanding the U.S. Population. Our colorful wall map is among our most requested products – and we’ve sent it to nearly every school across the country. Now it can be used at home! This map – available at census.gov/schools – shows your middle-grader kid-friendly data on all states, such as those with the youngest and oldest populations, the largest and smallest average family size, and the highest and lowest median income. Have your student find the state and county where they live – and check out all the stats available for them on the map.
Take the learning a step further by using the map as a reference and having your student(s) name as many of the state capitals as they can, or have them use data from the map to choose a state or area of the nation where they would like to live as an adult. Ask them to explain the reasons for their choice. For example, do they prefer living in areas heavily populated, with higher incomes or, perhaps, with families that at smaller than the national average?
Population Bracketology Game. Excited about March Madness? Test your knowledge of population data with our Population Bracketology Game! Start by choosing your geographic level: metro areas or states. Click on the name in each match that you think has the larger population. See how close you both can come to a perfect score of 63.
Check out our monthly highlights page, which offers students an opportunity to use Census Bureau data to learn about and celebrate holidays, special observances, and current events each month. Explore more great activities for grades 6-8 on the SIS website.