First Grade Census

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

The first graders at Gateway Elementary School stole my heart today in St. Louis. I entered their library with a set of officials and there they were, dressed in little white t-shirts promoting the census. After the old folks talked about Census in Schools, the teacher led the students in one of the exercises designed for the K-2 group: a census of the class that measured how the class got to school – by bus, car or foot. (Results: bus and car tied; no walkers.)

Next, each table (containing 3-5 kids) was declared a “household.” One person in the “household” was designated to fill out a census form. At the end, four of the five tables returned their form to the teacher. One table didn’t return the form!

One of the students from another table, directed by the teacher, put on a hat labeled “census taker,” and “visited” the nonrespondent table, to retrieve the form, and then turned it in.

The assembled adults loved the display of the mini-census.

Then the teacher asked the first graders what they learned – they mentioned that a census was a count of all people (but no pets)! I learned that the St. Louis schools are considering sending Census in Schools exercises home with the kids over the holiday break, so that families can complete them together. Cool.

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3 Responses to First Grade Census

  1. Jennifer says:

    The mentioning of pets is interesting. Sounds like a cool thing for census-loving animal-support groups to look into. I was somewhat disappointed that I do not remember my parents ever talking about the 2000 Census. I wonder how separating the children out and telling them that those are their ‘people’ (well, they might take it a certain way at some point) that they are sitting with, will effect them when they are older. I like the idea of teaching them early.

  2. Christina says:

    That is really cute and innovative! Frankly, I would be that alot of the parents will learn more about how the Census REALLY works from their kids than from the official pronouncements. I just might ask my children’s school administration to look into this. What a neat, rare learning experience! (And I can just imagine the kids saying, “but not pets.” LOL!)

  3. Its Not Cute! says:

    Yes, let’s teach them early how to comply with anyone who asks for personal information. Let’s teach them how to segregate races and how the Caucasian race is referred to as a color, “white”, while the “African-American” race has three different categories, black, African-American or Negro. And there is no category in the census for Hispanics. They are considered “other” even though they are the largest growing ethnic group in our country (although many are illegal immigrants). Yes, all of this is just so darn “cute”. NOT

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