Understanding the Seven Elements of Culture
“Where can culture be seen in everyday life?”
New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards met:
6.2.8.E.6. Describe how one’s heritage includes personal history and experiences, culture, customs,
and family background.
6.2.8.E.9. Discuss how cultures may change and that individuals may identify with more than one
6.2.8.E.10. Engage in activities that foster understanding of various cultures.
National Council for the Social Studies Thematic Standards met:
1.1 Culture and Cultural Diversity
1.3 People, Places, and Environment
1.4 Individual Development and Identity
1.5 Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
National Council for the Social Studies Disciplinary Standards met:
1.1 History: The knowledge base of historical content drawn from US and world histories provides the
basis from which learners develop historical understanding and competence in ways of historical
thinking. These understandings are drawn from the record of human aspirations, strivings,
accomplishments and failures in at least five spheres of human activity: the social, political, scientific,
economic and cultural.
o Students will identify all 7 elements of Culture
o All students will construct a collage depicting some elements of culture
o Some students will construct a collage depicting all elements of culture.
o A few students will be able to inspect their own lives against the 7 elements of Culture,
and fit each aspect of themselves into one of the 7 elements.
o Students will be able to give examples of culture and its elements in and around school
o All students will be able to mention one or two cultural elements from in school
o Some students will be able to mention 5 cultural elements from their day
o A few students will be able to mention 10 cultural elements they found in and out of
school over the course of one day
Pictures for collage
United Streaming Video
As the students come into class, they will sit down at their desks and copy down their homework (Be
aware of cultural elements throughout the rest of the day). Once finished, students will write in their
notebooks an answer to the following question: “What are some examples from your life that you
could categorize into any of the seven elements of culture? And which element would each of those
examples fit into? Why?”
Do Now Activity (10 minutes)
o Students will copy down their homework (Be aware of cultural surroundings).
o Students will then answer the question, notated above, on the board in their notebooks.
o When students are finished the teacher will ask for volunteers to share their answer.
o The teacher then may share some examples from his/her life. Martial Art respect. Teacher
respect towards students. Etc…
o The teacher will then ask the students to look through their notebooks and see if they have the 2
entries written in their notebooks, completed. One from 9/14 or 9/17, and 9/25 or 9/26. Also,
they should check to see if they wrote notes from the video on either the 25th or 26th.
o Ask students “who had all those things?” Then ask who did not have all of those things.
STUDENTS MUST RAISE THEIR HANDS!!!!!!! (Hidden Lesson Part 1)
o Tell the students that this was an informal notebook check and that if they did not have those
things, they should begin practicing getting used to writing everything down and listening when
they are told to do so in their notebooks.
o Then the teacher will ask them to put away their notebooks, and take out their pictures they
should have gathered for homework for their collage.
Collage Activity (35 minutes)
o Students will take out their pictures they gathered for homework.
o They will take 5 minutes to share their pictures with their shoulder partner. They should
explain which picture represents which element of culture.
o Once they are finished, the teacher will distribute one piece of oak tag to each student.
Likewise glue sticks will go out to each student. STUDENTS MUST SAY THANK YOU,
AND YOU SAY YOU’RE WELCOME!!!!! (Hidden Lesson Part 2)
o For the next 20 minutes, students will affix their pictures to the oak tag with the glue to form a
collage of the cultural elements.
o Students who do not have pictures, and did not do their homework, will have to draw the
pictures on the oak tag.
o The teacher will walk around and look at student progress.
o When the time is finished, the teacher will ask 5 to 8 students to stand up in front of the class
and present their collage, explaining what each picture is representing and how their collage
o When each student finishes presenting start clapping to get the students to clap as well.
STUDENTS MUST CLAP THEIR HANDS!!!!!! (Hidden Lesson Part 3)
o Then the teacher will collect all collages and glue sticks and ask students to take out their
notebooks and something to write with.
United Streaming Video (10 minutes)
o The teacher will make sure that each student has their notebook out.
o The teacher will tell the students to while we watch the video, they will write down each
element of culture they see as they watch it.
o Note, tell the students that you are going to turn off the volume so they can do this independent
of the narrators’ comments.
o Then play the clip (2 minutes)
o Ask students to share some of the things they wrote down.
o Then play the clip again, silent, and ask students to point out things verbally as they see them
the second time. This way the teacher knows that the information is being given to each
student in a variety of ways.
Hidden Lesson Explanation (10 minutes)
o The teacher will then roll up the screen for the projector and begin writing three things on the
board, one underneath the other: “Raising Hands; Thank you/You’re Welcome; Clapping”
o Tell the students that in the beginning of class, with the informal notebook check, the teacher
asked them who had everything/who didn’t have everything. And that to answer the question
the students raised their hands. Ask them “How did you know to raise your hands and not call
o The answer is that because in the school/our culture, we know that it is a NORM in school that
to participate and answer questions, one needs to raise their hand to be called on. You learned
that indirectly over the years by watching others and other classes.
o Tell the students that when you were giving out the collage materials that you said you’re
welcome to them when the person student said thank you. Ask them “How did you know to
say thank you? And how did the teacher know to say you’re welcome?”
o The answer is that because in our society/culture, it is a NORM and VALUE that when
someone gives you something, you say thank you and you’re welcome.
o Finally, tell the students that when everyone who presented their collage was finished,
everyone clapped. “How did you know to clap?” The answer is that in an ORGANIZED
GROUP it is a NORM that when someone presents you clap as a sign of REWARD for good
WORK. Then ask them what kind of element would the collage itself fit into? Answer: ART
o Conclude this section of the lesson by telling students signs of culture are everywhere.
Sometimes they are obvious and sometimes they are subtle. But no matter what anyone does,
no matter how conscious one is of their culture, until you sit down and actually think about
what you do on a daily basis, does one understand what culture actually is in depth.
USSR Worksheet (x minutes, in case the collage construction is shorter than planned)
o If at the end of class there is still time remaining, the teacher will distribute the Life in Mary,
o Students will fill in the worksheet individually until the end of class.
o What are the 7 elements of Culture?
o What is a Culture?
o What forms of Culture are seen in our school?
o What forms of Culture does your family exhibit?
Students should take the rest of the school day and night to analyze where they can see the seven
elements of culture. There is no need to write about what they observe at school, home, practice, or
their neighborhood, but they should be ready to discuss some of the things they observed in the next