Pin it!
Google Plus

State Population Projections

  • Lesson
  • 1
  • 2
Data Analysis and Probability
Grace M. Burton
Location: unknown

In this activity, students  examine the United States Census Bureau Web site to investigate projections of the total population of states from 1995-2025. Using the provided data, students will analyze statistics from five states of their choice, develop specific research questions using the data, and create three graphs to compare and contrast the

To introduce this activity, begin with a class discussion to define the importance of conducting the US Census and its purpose. Suggestions for guiding questions include:

  • What is a census?
  • Why is it necessary?
  • How can the government use this data?
  • How can we use this data as mathematicians?
  • Brainstorm several questions that you would like to investigate using data provided by the 2000 census.

Place students into teams of two and distribute the State Population Projections Activity Sheet to each pair.

pdficonState Population Projections Activity Sheet 

The students should use the following data from the US Census website.

pdficonProjections of the Total Population of States 

Once the entire class is viewing the state population document (individually on computers, using a projection device, or print copy), lead a discussion using the following guided questions to elicit responses:

  • The title of this page is, " Projections of the Total Population of States: 1995 to 2025." Explain to your partner what you think that means. What does "Numbers in the Thousands," mean?
  • How do you convert these numbers to the standard numbers? (Example: 602= 602,000 or 4,324= 4,323,000)
  • What do the titles of the columns mean?
  • What state had the largest population in 1995?
  • What state had the smallest in 1995?
  • What is the projected population for our state in the year 2015?
  • Series A is the "Time Series Model" and series B is the "Economic Series." Why is it important for the Census Bureau to indicate which series code is being used? When recording data from the projection tables onto your activity sheet, why is it important to indicate which series you are using?

Once the class-wide discussion has concluded, assign each team the following tasks.

Consider this question: Which state will have the highest population?

Choose 5 states and 3 years. Gather data from the Census Bureau Web site for your chosen states and years related to this general question. Record all the information in the table on the State Population Projections Activity Sheet.

pdficonGrid Paper 

On blank paper or grid paper, draw three graphs representing these data. Using the data and the graphs, write one possible answer to the question about which state will have the highest population.

Teacher Note: Alternatively, students may use the Circle Grapher or Bar Grapher tools to graph their data.

appicon Circle Grapher or Bar Grapher 

Next, assign the students a more open-ended task. Each team should brainstorm a question they would like to investigate using the population projection data. This question should be recorded on the student activity sheet. Gather data related to this question from the Census Bureau Web site. Construct a table to record the data. Draw a graph representing the data.

Remember that students need to develop skills which help them plan and make decisions about data. It is important that they learn to retrieve, select, and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data.

Examples of possible student-developed questions:

  • Which state will have the smallest population in the future?
  • What is the population projection for our state for the upcoming years?
  • Which state will grow the most in the upcoming years?
  • Will any states decrease in population in the future?
  • Which state will grow the fastest?

To close the lesson, students will share their questions, tables and graphs with the class. This discussion should lead to more questions about the use of population projections and questions that could be answered using this data.

Data Analysis and Probability

National Population Projections

In this activity, students examine the United States Census Bureau Web site to investigate population projections from 1990-2100. Using the five provided pyramids, students analyze the data to determine
how the population is distributed over time, and explain what factors might contribute to these trends.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Formulate questions, construct data tables, and display the relevant data in a graph.
  • Justify their conclusions and design further studies based on their information.

NCTM Standards and Expectations

  • Design investigations to address a question and consider how data-collection methods affect the nature of the data set.
  • Use measures of center, focusing on the median, and understand what each does and does not indicate about the data set.

Common Core State Standards – Practice

  • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP3
    Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.