Volume 18: Voting in the 2004 Elections
1. Have your students study the first graph. Then have them form a human bar graph of each graph by assigning individuals or small groups (depending on class size) a variable.
2. Ask for one or more volunteers to explain how to read a graph. Help out as necessary.
3. Work with students to extract facts from the graph in the form of simple sentences. (For example, "Most people in the lowest income category don't vote" or "The highest voter turnout is among those who make $50,000 or more a year.") Have individuals share their sentences and write them on the board.
4. Go through the other two graphs in the same way. For example, a sentence gleaned from the middle chart could be: "College graduates are twice as likely to vote as those who have less than a high school education." Try to get everyone to participate in determining the facts that the graphs illustrate. When students share the sentences they created, ask them to explain why they thought those particular facts were important.
5. When students have finished this process, engage them in a general discussion of the graphs using the discussion questions.
6. Have students walk around the room and share important points they learned from this activity with three to four other class members.
Reprinted with permission from the Civic Participation and Community Action Sourcebook, Second edition. Edited by Andy Nash. Boston, MA: New England Literacy Resource Center, 2001. Originally adapted from Beyond Basic Skills, Vol. 2, No. 3, Summer 1998 by Tom Valentine and Jenny Sandlin. Published by the Department of Adult Education. The University of Georgia. http://www.coe.uga.edu/adulted/staffdev/bbs.html.
Source of all graphs: U.S. Bureau of Census