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Lesson Plan on Urbanization/Segregation

Prepared by Margaret L. Andersen, University of Delaware

I.  Learning Objectives

a. Helps students locate local information from census data;

b. Teaches how to read tables, create charts and maps

II.  Rationale for Objectives

 Explores how residential patterns affect intergroup relations.

III. Materials/Time

The U.S. Census Bureau website has extensive information on population, housing, and so forth that students can use.  The American FactFinder feature allows them to identify various social and economic characteristics of the United States at the state, county, and city level.

2. The Statistical Abstract of the United States (available on-line and on paper) provides extensive documentation of population data for United States

Time: Can be adapted for one class period or more if it becomes an extended project.

IV. Procedures

     (1) Introduction

1. Using demographic data from the 2000 census (available online using American FactFinder), have students create charts or draw maps of their locality (either state, county, or city) that identify various social and economic characteristics (education, population, housing, race, and so forth) of this locale.  The FactFinder series will provide descriptive tables with this information and can also map some of these data.

   (2) Activity

Students can supplement the census data with their own observations of such things as where different groups live.

   (3) Discussion

Ask students to discuss: How segregated are the neighborhoods in their city?  Has this changed over time?  Ask them to identify the policies and practices that have created and maintained these patterns.  What would it take to change them?  Also have them think about how racial segregation affects the group dynamics within their community.

V. Evaluation/Assignment

Have students summarize their discussion in written or oral reports.

VI. Supplementary Reading Materials

Sim City 2000 Software.  Orinda, CA: Maxis, Inc.

       This software package allows users to create simulations of urban life.  You can use it to simulate social change by beginning in the year 1900 and incorporating the various demographic, technological, environmental, and other changes that occurred over the 20th century.  See Michael Manoccia. 1999. "Sim City 2000 Software." Teaching Sociology 27 (April): 212-215 for a discussion of how to incorporate this into sociology courses.