Whether you're teaching about To Kill a Mockingbird, the 1930s, or racism, this is an essential websearch that will engage students from the very start. Paired with the 1930s Magazine Assignment Educabana has on this site or used alone, this webquest will allow students to discover using legitimate primary and secondary sources.
Think about it: how many times have you or any of your colleagues found an interesting and meaningful lesson employing census data? I know, this would be your first, but it might inspire you or your colleagues to continue the trend because this is what social studies, history, and literature in context are all about.
This websearch asks 22 though-provoking questions. Some can easily be altered to teach in your area, since many of the questions are based in the suburbs of Milwaukee, WI, but the same census data is everywhere. Maybe ten minutes of your time to make the questions local to your students and to make you look like the teacher who knows how to create an assignment that will have your students questioning their own conceptions of race relations.
Interestingly, I first created the assignment not long after the OJ trial, but the question that asks about situations receiving national attention when it comes to race relations is still unfortunately relevant, and I never had to change the question in a decade of teaching the lesson.
This one took me many hours of researching and revising. Do you have the time to do the same? My certificate in Urban Planning came in handy a few times as a teacher, and this is probably the best representative of what data analysis can do to make people think. (More than a standardized test, anyhow.)
Be sure to have at least a short discussion after students do this activity. You might need to guide their collective interpretation of the data, which will be different (interestingly) based on the type of students you teach.
If you want to continue to watch students copy and paste chapter summaries from To Kill a Mockingbird or photos of the book cover into some excuse for a research-based assignment, that's up to you, but you are not helping them prepare for college or life after college with that kind of lesson.
This lesson would not take much adjustment to work as a college lesson in an urban geography or urban planning class. Feel free, professor. Homeschoolers, this is a perfect chance to use statistics to allow your child to see the world outside (and maybe reaffirm your decision to educate at home).