The census is foundational for representative democracy. Have students read the Census Fact Sheet. Then give them a copy of the 2010 Census form to fill out on their own to gain an understanding of its contents. (When the 2020 Census form is available, Draw the Lines will update this lesson accordingly.)

Further study, if students have access to Internet: Go to the American Fact Finder site on the Census webpage. Using the 2010 Census data, have them collect a data portrait of a community they have visited or want to visit, somewhere outside their own municipality. For in-depth study, have students compare those to national averages (which are available on the Fact Finder page, and enter “United States” into the Community Facts textbox). They can write about what that comparison reveals, including differences in age distribution and racial makeup.