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Return to Five Lessons in Black History

The African American Population in U.S. History

Subjects

  • Educational Technology
  • Mathematics
    --Applied Math
    --Arithmetic
    --Statistics
  • Social Studies
    --Geography
    --History
    ---U.S. History
    --Regions/Cultures

Grade

  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

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Brief Description

Charts, graphs, and maps help students learn about the growth of the African-American population throughout history.

Objectives

The following are among the many skills these activities will teach/reinforce (depending on the activity and the grade in which it is used):

  • reading maps and charts (tables)
  • creating graphs
  • reading comprehension
  • solving problems
  • following directions
  • sequencing (alphabetical and numerical)
  • using a map key
  • making inferences
  • figuring percents

Keywords

African American, Black History, February, census, population, map, chart, table, graph, directions, sequence, ABC order, alphabetical order, map key, making inferences, percent, percentage

Materials Needed[shopmaterials]

  • computer (optional)
  • teacher-created work sheets (optional/content provided)

Lesson Plan

This lesson plan provides resources for teachers to use in group activities or to create student work sheets. The resources challenge students to use real population data to learn about the history of the African-American population. Each chart or map below is accompanied by a handful of questions. You might use a projector to project these charts or the map onto a wall, then ask the questions as an oral activity; or use the data/questions below to create a student work sheet.

Activity 1: The African-American Population Through the Years (Grades 5-12)

The following chart shows the total population of the United States since 1860. It also shows the African-American population in each of those years.
 

Date Year Total U.S. Population African-American Population
1860 31,400,000 4,400,000
1880 50,100,000 6,500,000
1900 76,000,000 9,100,000
1920 105,700,000 10,500,000
1940 131,700,000 13,200,000
1960 179,300,000 17,900,000
1980 226,500,000 27,200,000
2000 281,400,000 36,400,000
Source: U.S. Census Data. All numbers are rounded


Sample Questions:

  1. What was the total U.S. population in the year 1900? (76,000,000) 2000? (281,400,000)
  2. In which year on the chart did the African American population first grow to be more than 10,000,000 people? (1920)
  3. Did that population double to 20,000,000 by 1960 or 1980? (1980)
  4. How many African Americans lived in the United States in 1860? (4,400,000) 1960? (17,900,000)
  5. Were there more or less than 15 million African Americans in the United States in the year 1960? (more)

Bonus Question
The following activity is for students who have been taught the concept of percent.

Option: You might teach students to use an online calculator, like one of these:
Percent Calculator #1 Percent Calculator #2

Ask: What percent of the total U.S. population was African American? Calculate the percent of African Americans in the total U.S. population for each year on the chart. (Answers appear in the Assessment section below.)

 

Activity 2: African-American Population By State (Grades 4-8)

The following chart shows ten states with the largest populations of African-American people in the year 2000. The states are listed in ABC order. Your task is to arrange the states in order from the state with the largest African-American population to the state with the 10th largest population. (Answers appear in Assessment section below.)
 

TEN STATES WITH LARGEST AFRICAN-AMERICAN POPULATIONS
State Name African-American Population in 2000
California 2,510,000
Florida 2,470,000
Georgia 2,390,000
Illinois 1,940,000
Louisiana 1,470,000
Maryland 1,530,000
New York 3,230,000
No. Carolina 1,780,000
Texas 2,490,000
Source: U.S. Census Bureau. Numbers reflect citizens who reported African-American ancestry, in whole or part. All numbers are rounded.

Extension Activity
Use the online Create-a-Graph tool or your favorite graphing software to create a graph illustrating the above data.

 

Activity 3: Read a "U.S. African-American Population in 2000 Map (Grades 3-12)

For this activity, project, or provide a clear copy of, the African-American Population Map (scroll down to page 6). The map shows, county by county, the percentage of African Americans in the United States. Give students time to study the map. Then pose some true or false statements about the map. Following are some sample questions for a variety of grade levels.

For Grades 3-5: Tell students that the colored areas on the map show counties within states that have African-American populations of 5 percent or greater. Students then respond to general statements about the map.

  • In the United States, more African Americans live in the North than in the South. (false)
  • In Florida, more than half the counties have African-American populations greater than 5 percent. (true)
  • The state of Maine has three counties with African-American populations greater than 5 percent. (false)
  • More African Americans live east of the Mississippi River than live west of the river. (true)
  • California has more counties with African-American populations of at least 5 percent than Texas has. (false)

For Grades 6-up: Students study more closely the shadings of color on the map. They use the maps color key to respond to specific statements about the map. You could start this activity with true-false statements for grades 3-5 (see above), and then add the following statements or others that you write. In addition, you might write a few statements about the African-American population of the state in which you and your students live.

  • More counties with African-American populations greater than 50 percent can be found in the southeastern United States than in the northeast. (true)
  • In California, six counties have African-American populations greater than 50 percent. (false)
  • North Carolina has more counties with African-American populations greater than 50 percent than South Carolina has. (false)
  • The state of Massachusetts has no counties that have African-American populations greater than 25 percent. (true)
  • Montana has no counties that are more than 5 percent African American. (true)
  • Florida has four counties with African-American populations greater than 50 percent. (false)
  • More counties with largely African-American populations are found in the northern parts of Arkansas than in the southern parts of the state. (false)
  • In Louisiana, just two counties have African-American populations of less than 5 percent. (true)
  • Among the counties that border the Pacific Ocean -- in the states of Washington, Oregon, and California -- only two counties have African-American populations greater than 5 percent. (true)
  • Texas has more counties with largely African-American populations in the eastern part of the state than in the western part of the state. (true)

Assessment

Grade students on the number of correct responses for each activity.

Activity 1: The African-American Population Through the Years (Grades 5-12)
Questions and answers appear in the Lesson Plan section above.
Bonus Question:
The African- American population represented the following percents of the entire U.S. population in each year listed. (All percents are rounded.)

  • 1860 -- 14%
  • 1880 -- 13%
  • 1900 -- 12%
  • 1920 -- 10%
  • 1940 -- 10%
  • 1960 -- 10%
  • 1980 -- 12%
  • 2000 -- 13%

 

Activity 2: African-American Population By State (Grades 4-8)
In 2000, the states, in order of their African-American populations from largest to smallest were as follows: New York, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, Louisiana

Activity 3: Read a "U.S. African-American Population in 2000 Map (Grades 3-12)
All correct responses appear as part of the activity in the Lesson Plan section above.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

LANGUAGE ARTS: English
GRADES K - 12
NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.7 Evaluating Data
NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding

MATHEMATICS: Number and Operations
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-NUM.3-5.1 Understand Numbers, Ways of Representing Numbers, Relationships Among Numbers, and Number Systems
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-NUM.6-8.1 Understand Numbers, Ways of Representing Numbers, Relationships Among Numbers, and Number Systems
GRADES 9 - 12
NM-NUM.9-12.1 Understand Numbers, Ways of Representing Numbers, Relationships Among Numbers, and Number Systems

MATHEMATICS: Measurement
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-MEA.3-5.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-MEA.6-8.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
GRADES 9 - 12
NM-MEA.9-12.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement

MATHEMATICS: Data Analysis and Probability
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-DATA.3-5.3 Develop and Evaluate Inferences and Predictions That Are Based on Data
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-DATA.6-8.3 Develop and Evaluate Inferences and Predictions That Are Based on Data
GRADES 9 - 12
NM-DATA.9-12.3 Develop and Evaluate Inferences and Predictions That Are Based on Data

MATHEMATICS: Problem Solving
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-PROB.PK-12.2 Solve Problems That Arise in Mathematics and in Other Contexts
NM-PROB.PK-12.3 Apply and Adapt a Variety of Appropriate Strategies to Solve Problems

MATHEMATICS: Connections
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-CONN.PK-12.3 Recognize and Apply Mathematics in Contexts Outside of Mathematics

MATHEMATICS: Representation
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-REP.PK-12.2 Select, Apply, and Translate Among Mathematical Representations to Solve Problems
NM-REP.PK-12.3 Use Representations to Model and Interpret Physical, Social, and Mathematical Phenomena

SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography
GRADES K - 12
NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms
NSS-G.K-12.2 Places and Regions
NSS-G.K-12.4 Human Systems

TECHNOLOGY
GRADES K - 12
NT.K-12.1 Basic Operations and Concepts
NT.K-12.5 Technology Research tools

Click to return to this week's Lesson Planning article, Lessons in Black History.

See additional lessons and resources on Education World's special Black History Month archive page.

Updated 2/07/2012

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