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High School — Social Studies
People in Societies


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    People in Societies


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      Activities: Help with Fundamentals

      These activities can help you address the fundamentals with your students.

      Investigating Cultural Perspective in the Historic Actions and Responses of Groups

      Help students see how a person's culture shapes his or her response to historical events. Prepare a list of historical events for students to consider. Ask them to identify different cultural groups who may have been affected. Have students consider each group's viewpoint, and any action the group took in response to the event. Students can practice this activity by completing the following chart to organize their thinking:

      Historical Event Cultural Groups AffectedPoint of View of the Cultural GroupsAction taken by Groups in Response to Event

      Students can reflect on the viewpoints that they considered and draw conclusions by asking:

      • How do various cultural groups view the same events differently?
      • How does cultural perspective influence actions taken in response to an event?
      Identify Forms of Oppression

      Help students identify examples of oppression throughout history and its lasting effects on society today. Begin by helping students understand that discrimination is unfair treatment of a person or group based on prejudice, while oppression is a series of harsh, unfair, burdensome acts or demands.

      Help students understand the effects of oppression on a social group. Ask students to consider an example: Have you ever watched a bully force someone to do something? How does that person react? What are the consequences of the bully's actions on the person being bullied? Explain that acts of oppression are just the acts of a bully: using unjust authority to keep someone or some group of people in hardship and under control. Have students list ways that indigenous peoples have been oppressed by colonizers. They can consider how indigenous peoples have been oppressed politically, culturally, and economically.

      As a next step, put students into groups and ask them to draw conclusions about the long-term effects of oppression. Ask such questions as:

      • How has past social oppression affected the interactions of cultural groups today?
      • How has past political oppression limited the political success of cultural groups today?
      • How has past economic oppression limited the economic success of cultural groups today?
      Identifying Cultural Diffusion in Your Neighborhood

      Ask students to spend a couple of days identifying different cultures in their towns or neighborhoods. They may visit stores to note the availability of products from different cultures and regions around the world. Or, they could search a public library for foreign language newspapers or magazines that reflect trends from various cultures. Ask them to keep track of stores, restaurants and places of worship that reflect different cultural perspectives. After students have gathered and recorded examples, have them share the ways that other cultures are part of their daily lives and experiences. Discuss examples of products, periodicals and places that may be accepted within a particular cultural community but not diffused into society in general (such as a German-language newspaper) and those that can be said to have been adopted by the society at large (diffused), such as Mexican restaurants.

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