By John H. Thompson
A lot of our work at the Census Bureau looks toward the future – next year’s American Community Survey, or the decennial Census in 2020, for example. One exciting forward-looking initiative is our Statistics in Schools (SIS) program. Research shows that jobs related to statistics are expected to increase by more than 25 percent over the next decade, and SIS is part of our efforts to help make sure students are prepared for them.
Statistics in Schools supports statistics education by providing grade-appropriate classroom activities in math and history, and many resources – such as maps, news articles, videos, infographics, and games – for K-12 teachers to use. Staff from all areas of the Census Bureau worked together to create these activities, which are available online at no charge. Some examples of the activities teachers can find are:
- Tools for identifying the demographics of specific states and metro areas.
- Activities to analyze information correlating income to educational attainment.
- Specific data, such as the number of single-father households, vehicles per household, and salary based on industry sector.
- Worksheets to graph state population demographics.
- Activities for estimating how many people in the U.S. walk to work.
The activities are aligned to national standards, including Common Core State Standards and the UCLA National Standards for History. They aren’t intended to replace existing curricula, but rather complement existing lesson plans.
We have teamed up with subject matter experts from the American Statistical Association, the National Geographic Society, the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and many others to vet and evaluate SIS materials.
This summer, we are receiving feedback on the SIS website and activities from 350 teachers nationwide. Starting this fall, more than 135 teachers have volunteered to participate in the SIS Early Adopter program; they will use SIS activities in their classrooms in their upcoming school year to collect feedback and improve the program. Early adopters will report on how they used SIS materials and which materials were effective. Based on what we learn from early adopters and their students, we’ll make improvements before we introduce the program nationwide.
Thank you to these forward-thinking educators and partners, as well as the Census Bureau staff who made Statistics in Schools possible. They are committed to making sure that students master the skills required to thrive in an increasingly data-driven world, and we are thrilled to support them.