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A lesson on family structures and roles


Social Studies  


2, 3  

Carey Bohl

E-Mail Carey!


Families on Display:

An Introduction to the Study of Families.

Grade Level:


Length of Lesson:

55-60 minutes

Performance Expectations:

The learner will be able to recognize that there are different

family structures. They will be able to identify the different

members in a family and the roles of those family members. They

will also be able to understand the different activities in which

families are engaged. They will do this through the creation of

a Family Bar Graph, the production of a Family Collage, and the

student’s thoughts contained in journal writings.


  • One large sheet of newsprint.
  • List of 17 family vocabulary words (provided).
  • Posters of different family types around the world.
  • Student Journals.
  • 11×14 sheet of colored construction paper.
  • Glue, pencils, markers, crayons, etc.
  • Four family pictures from each child. (Children must bring

    these in ahead of time. Make sure that parents know how and what

    they will be used for.)

  • Magazines with pictures of families in them.



Complete on the sheet of newsprint, a bar graph showing the numbers

and make up of each student’s family using the information obtained

from students.

  • How many people are in your family?
  • Who is in your family?
  • Number of children?
  • Who do you live with?

Go over the family Vocabulary words. Discuss what

each one means and make up definitions of words that are not on

the list.


Give each student a piece of construction paper, their family

photos, magazine pictures and writing implements. Say: Today we

are going to make a Family Collage that shows your family and

different types of families that can be found around the world.

Ahead of time, complete an example of the collage using your own

family photos, magazine pictures and drawings. Label your drawings

with the names of the different members of you family.


Discuss the different people in a family. Can these

be different? How? Discuss the different types of families and

the different activities that families participate in. Can these

e different? How. Refer to the posters depicting families. Have

the children write in their journals about the different family

types that you discussed and about their own families. Also have

them write definitions to the vocabulary words in their journals.


  1. Checklist for each of that students collages

    to be sure that they use four family photos, at least three magazine

    pictures and have at least two of their own drawings that are


  2. Read student journals and respond to the insights

    and thoughts of the students.

  3. Have children self-assess themselves by submitting

    a self-critique of their collage.


Students can compare the different family types in

their journals. Be sensitive to children who do not wish to share

about their families. This lesson can also be used as a closing

lesson on families as a way to access students’ knowledge of families.


Herr, J. and Libby, Y. (1995).

Creative resources

for the early childhood classroom.

New York, NY: Delmar Publishers


Carey Bohl (1997)

Vocabulary Words:

  • Mother
  • Father
  • Children
  • Sister
  • Brother
  • Grandmother
  • Grandfather
  • Cousin
  • Aunt
  • Uncle
  • Nephew
  • Niece
  • Love
  • Family
  • One-parent family
  • Blended
  • extended
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