Mr Donn's Lesson Plan - What is culture? Illustration

Mr. Donn's Lesson Plan
What is Culture?

Lesson Plan for World Geography/World Cultures (90 minutes)
Critical Thinking Skills
Grade 9 Social Studies


  • Prepare copies of the handout List of Various Groups (one copy per group)

  • National Geography Magazines (You can borrow copies from the public library. Let your library know that any issue is fine, a mix of issues would be best.)


Open Class with Discussion: What is culture?

Ask: Who can define culture? (Get some answers.)

Direct students to brainstorm examples.

Write student answers on the board

Ask: What goes into culture? (Get some answers. Help them if they need it by suggesting clothing, music, government.)

Say: School is a culture. From the list we made, how does school culture fit some of the list - in particular, clothing, music, and government? (Get some answers.)

Class Activity:

Hand out List of Various Groups

Direct each student to circle the groups on this list to which they belong.

Group Activity: About 10 minutes

Tell students to take their list with them, and to move into groups of 4 students (or less.)

Their job is to compare their individual lists with other people in their group.

Then, they are to identify three things that everyone in their group has in common on their individual lists.

At the bottom of each paper, student will write down the name of the 3 groups they have in common like this. Put this list marked a-e on the overhead.

a) Name

b) Purposes of that group (why it is in existence)

c) The beliefs of that group

d) The rules of the group

e) Is membership voluntary or involuntary?

Give them some time. Then, ask each group to share one of the three things they had in common with the class, and have them state the answer(s) they chose for a-e above. It is okay if another small group presents the same selection (family, school, etc.)

As groups present, start throwing in monkey wrenches.

School, for example: Your students may say school is involuntary and that they have to go to school. Throw in a monkey wrench. Say: What about college? What if you're 17 years old?

Family, for example: Throw in a monkey wrench. Ask: Does every family believe that?

Do not challenge everything they say, but occasionally throw in a monkey wrench to keep them thinking.

Once every group has presented one thing they had in common, have them turn in their individual work and return to their desks.

Class Activity:
Ask your class if anyone can define the following terms. (You may be surprised.) Assign two students to look up one definition each in the dictionary. Compare dictionary definition to the class definition of each word. Modify the class definition if necessary.

What is homogeneous? (in common, all the same)

What is heterogeneous? (all different)

Individual Activity:

Tell students to listen to the instructions first, and then act.

Say: Here's what I want you to do.

  1. Every individual will go and get a National Geographic magazine.

  2. Select a culture, any culture, so long as it is not one of your own.

  3. List 3 physical characteristics the culture you selected has in common.

  4. Find 4 cultural ideas that the people have in common.

After they have each returned to their desk, and have had a chance to leaf through a magazine, write on the chalkboard or overhead direction #2-4 above.

If time permits, ask for a volunteer to share a culture they discovered and state the 3 physical or 4 cultural ideas that the people have in common.

Conclude activity by asking your opening question again. Ask: So, who can tell me what culture is? (Get some answers. Make sure they are right ones.)

Close Class

Handout: List of Various Groups

NAME: _____________________

DATE: ______________________

CLASS: _____________________

PERIOD: ____________________

What is Culture?
List of various groups






Student Union





Work Force (after school job)

Band or Orchestra