08-11-2007, 06:08 PM
You can use the culture wheel as an independent lesson over culture or as a part of a whole lesson over any culture looking at each of the areas of the wheel and discussing or discovering what that civilization contributed to the culture.
Start first with the meaning of culture: The way of life for an entire group of people. Every group of people has a particular way of acting or behaving. Each individual learns the accepted ways of the group from the example of parents and other children. He/she learns through the process of education. Therefore, culture is learned rather than inherited.
Culture is composed of many things. It consists of ideas, skills, purposes and ways of communicating together with material objects such as tools, buildings, and machines.
The following are the 8 areas that have been identfied as those things that make up a culture: (culture wheel)
1. Economics - technology: tools, machines & skills. The way they make their living, form of money, division of labor
2. Religion - attitudes toward the unknown, some culture have mystical beliefs and superstitions, recognized religion, religious practices, and some have a combination of these.
3. Social Institutions - how is the family organized, how is marriage handled (arragned or chosen), type of family grouping, child training, puberty, rites of passage; Educational system; resolutions of conflicts (war & peace). Basically, how do people interact with other people.
4. Art - music, drama, dance, folklore, paintings, drawings, sculpture, architecture
5. Language - verbal and non-verbal communication
6. Food, clothing and shelter - what types of food do they eat, how is it produced, what animals are domesticated. Look at the types of clothing worn in the area (traditional and modern), what about the adornments; what type of shelter or dwellings do the people live in and/or build. What types of transportation do they have?
7. Recreation - how do they use their leisure time, what games are played?
8. Government and Authority - how is the society governed?
Remember there are two types of cultures: simple and complex. Simple cultures have few ways of making a living and a limited number of tools. The people get their food from hunting, fishing, or gathering and live in simple housing. Complex cultures have people that make their living in a variety of ways. They choose the jobs they want or like. Machines are available and contribute to thier versatility.
Think developed and undeveloped areas of the world; look at history...as we began to gather tools life got easier and we had/have more.
Let me know if you need or want more information.