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How do you spend your time?: activity requirements

Lesson description

The “How do you spend your time?” activity helps students to learn more about the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) program and teaches students to read, interpret, and create pie charts.

Activity objective

Students will:

  • learn more about the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) American Time Use Survey (ATUS) program
  • learn how to read, interpret, and create pie charts.

BLS topics covered

  • American Time Use Survey (ATUS)
  • graphs

Grade level

Secondary level

Time to complete

Approximately 1 hour


Students will need:

  • a calculator
  • a protractor
  • a compass
  • a pencil
  • colored pencils, crayons, or markers
  • electronic spreadsheet
  • ATUS chart (provided)


Using a printed version of the “How do you spend your time?” activity document, have the students analyze an ATUS a pie chart to learn more about how to read and interpret pie charts.

After answering the questions in the “Analyzing a pie chart” section, have them use the activity document to create their own pie chart.

Activity assessment

At the conclusion of the activity, students should be able to do the following:

  • Identify a pie chart
  • Identify and interpret the elements of a pie chart, including
    • Title
    • Labels
    • Key
    • Source
  • Create their own pie chart
  • Identify BLS as a resource for time use data

Other resources

You can learn more about the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) at

If you have any questions about this K-12 activity, or would like to provide feedback, please contact the BLS Division of Information and Marketing Services at 202-691-5200, or email us at

Last Modified Date: August 20, 2018