Building Culture: What are the relevant components of culture?

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SWBAT propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate to identifying the relevant components of culture.

Big Idea

Language, heritage, innovation, relationships, artistic expression, food...culture is unlimited!

Let's Get Started: Culture in Six Seconds

10 minutes

The goal is for the class is for students to collaborate to create a list of relevant aspects of culture that will be the foundation of their culture wheel project. However, before we start a new project, we need to wrap up our Vine narratives.  For homework the students had to bring their digital media videos from the VINE narrative to share with each other.  Most of them will have their  Vines on their smartphones.  Some students may need to use a student computer to share their video. As the students arrive, I tell them where to sit.  I do not have assigned seats, however, the students usually sit in the same place.  I want to make sure they are sitting with different people to share their videos. Working with different students will also push them out of their discussion comfort zone.

They have five minutes to share as many vines as they can. The maximum time for a vine is six seconds.  Each student has to share his/her name, the subject of the video, and how s/he thinks it connects to culture.  The audience writes the name of the videographer, the subject, and based on the video and explanation,  they have to evaluate how does the videographer influence culture (SL 9-10. 2).

After five minutes, I ask for volunteers to share what they have learned about their new group members.


Building Knowledge: Culture is the Context in which we Organize our Lives.

15 minutes

The goal of this section of the class is for students to create a list of elements of culture based on their understanding of culture. Now that the students are more comfortable in their new groups, I give them the follow statement: What is culture? Culture is the context in which we organize our lives.  I ask them, what are the things that impact the way we live?  

They work in their groups to make a list (SL 9-10.1). They have to discuss what they think culture is and what elements make up culture.  Hopefully, they will take some inspiration from the videos they just watched.  Their list should include: food, family, phones, computers, video games, music and sports.

Next I ask them if their parents had the same things impact their lives when they were 15/16 years old.  The answer I usually get is YES--except for cell phones. 

It leads to the question, "how do these things change over time?" I want them to consider culture as dynamic. It does not stay the same.  I tell them to think about how innovation impacts culture. I return to the essential question: Does culture shape the individual or does the individual shape culture. 

I give them a situation: Parents as gamers. Prepare to discuss, Where does innovation (change) fit in?

 We watch a segment of a Youtube video on the 1980's Super Mario Brothers.

Next we watch a Youtube video on the launch of Mario Time 2013.

In their groups they answer the question, where does innovation fit in using Mario Brothers for evidence (RI 9-10.1). The goal is for them to explain how Mario Brothers changed over time--it is not our parents' game anymore. They have to identify evidence from the videos to support their ideas about innovation in Mario Brothers. 

This activity should lead them to the conclusion that innovation is an element of culture.  

Building knowledge: What are the Necessary Elements of Culture?

15 minutes

Next, the students consider what are the necessary elements of culture.  The students collaborate with their group to create a list (SL 9-10.1). They can build on on the list they began in during the last activity.  They write their list on the board.  Next we eliminate any repeats or combine similar ideas until we have a list of aspects of culture. I type a master list of concepts of culture on the smartboard. By typing it, I create a clear list that the class can see and read.  They can add, discuss, or combine the aspects until they have a list that satisfies the class.

Now that we have established the necessary elements of culture, it's time for the fun stuff -- I pass out their culture wheel project. I call it a wheel because I want them to think of culture as dynamic, fluid, and multidimensional. The wheel has all those characteristics. I quickly read over the project.  The assignment sheet contains not only the project description but also the due dates and assignments for the remaining readings in the unit.  I also give them the culture wheel Scoring Rubric.  It is important for students to consider how the project will be graded when planning the presentation. Although this is an independent project, each student will create their own wheel, I encourage them to talk discuss ideas as they are planning their project.

The heart of the project is that each student has to identify the five aspects of culture that influence him/her the most.  Next they have to create five symbols of that aspect of culture and then write a statement on how that aspect of culture connects to him/her as an individual (W 9-10.2).  I tell them the project should be 3D--I do not want them to design a PowerPoint presentation or just draw a poster. I want to engage their creativity. 

i give them an example of four aspect of culture: relationships, technology, artistic expression, and entertainment.  I ask them to identify some tangible symbols of each aspect.  This is a pre-writing activity that gets them thinking about how to visually represent their ideas (W 9-10.5). The wheel should represent the visual component of the presentation they are writing. 


Closing: Culture Wheel Planning Sheet

10 minutes

Finally I pass out the culture wheel planning sheet. It is due the next class. However I want them to start it before they leave so I can answer any preliminary questions they have.  The front of the sheet is planning for the presentation the back is planning for the essay.  I tell them to only complete the planning for the presentation. The essay will come later--just save the paper.

In the first column, they write the five aspects they think they will use in their presentation.  I clarify that the symbols can be pictures, drawings, and other artifacts.  They can either draw them or describe them in the middle box.  The final box is a sentence on how that aspect of culture connects to the student.

I also remind them to complete the reading on the assignment sheet.