Graphically Speaking

Lesson Duration

Author:  The Democracy Project – PBS Kids Go!

Students will explore the relationship between state population and federal congressional representation. Using website data or almanacs, students will graph state population, state size, and number of congressional representatives. Students will then infer the relationship between the three figures. Historical extensions allow students to discover why congressional representation was set up in this fashion.


  • Students will use the Internet to find states’ population and number of elected officials those states send to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
  • Students will create a spreadsheet or database to contain state population information and congressional figures.
  • Students will write a summary paragraph about what they discovered when they compared population size to the number of representatives sent to Washington.


Graphically Speaking


A collection of lessons from PBS for teaching about government and elections for students in third through sixth grade.