Beacon Lesson Plan Library

A Geographic Study of Florida's Diverse Community

Kathy Corder
Leon County Schools


Students use an outline map of Florida and the Internet to identify major population centers and their demographic features.


The student knows unique geographic and demographic characteristics that define Florida as a region (for example, the Everglades, Latin American influence in South Florida).


-Colored pencils
-Instruction sheet for gathering demographic data from Internet.
-Outline map of Florida
-The class will also need access to an Internet lab and the Websites in Weblinks.


1. Sign up for Computer Internet lab well in advance. If lab is unavailable, print materials from web site and copy for student use in the classroom.
2. Copy worksheet and map for activities.
3. Make a copy of the rubric to evaluate student demographic maps.
4. Determine how groups will be organized and establish group rules to review with students to ensure maximize learning opportunity.


1 Draw a chart on the board which represents all of the possible ages of the students in the classroom. Also draw a chart to show the races/ethnicity of the students in the classroom. Do a quick poll to determine student ages and ethnic backgrounds. Discuss findings.

2. Define demographics as-the study of populations according to categories, i.e. sex, age, ethnicity, household incomes, etc.-

3. Distribute -Data Collection Sheet : Florida’s People- and instruct students to collect data from the Census Website about the characteristics of Florida’s people. At the end of the class period, gather the data collection sheet to conduct a formative assessment of student understanding of the concepts.

4. When students come to class the next day, return the students’ data collection sheets and briefly review. Discuss some of the students’ findings.

5. Distribute an outline map of Florida to the class. Instruct the students to meet with one or two other people to identify five major population centers by county, two demographic characteristics of each center, and the best way to represent the information on a map. You will need to model this and give them some suggestions. Give the students about 10-15 minutes to discuss these three topics.

6. At the end of the 15 minutes, tell the students to return to their desks to complete the tasks on their individual maps. Allow around 10-15 minutes for students to work on their own maps.

7. Instruct students to take home the maps to complete the assigned tasks. Also instruct students to make their maps more artistically pleasing. Tell them to use colored pencils and illustrations to represent the major population centers, i.e. Mickey Mouse for Orlando, Dolphins for Miami, etc.

8. When students turn in their maps on the next day, complete a formative assessment to determine student understanding of benchmark.


Complete formative assessment of the students’ data collection sheets and maps to determine progress and provide feedback.


For an extension of this activity, students could explore issues related to Florida’s growing population centers, i.e. the elderly, the Latino community in South Florida, etc.

For ESE or ESOL students, extra time might be needed to complete the attached data collection sheet. The rubric might need some modifications for some students.

Web Links

Web supplement for A Geographic Study of Florida’s Diverse Community
U. S. Census Bureau, State and County Quick Facts

This site contains reproducible outline maps of the state of Florida.
Florida Maps

Attached Files

A data collection sheet.     File Extension: pdf

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