Comparing Cultures Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan is designed for instructors teaching their students about the elements of culture. It presents students with instruction and activities focused on comparing cultures by identifying examples of its elements.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson students will be able to:

  • identify and define the elements of culture
  • compare cultures


approximately 45-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


  • culture
  • folkways
  • mores
  • norms
  • symbol
  • values


  • Activate prior knowledge by asking students to brainstorm a list of everything they know about culture. Give students an opportunity to share their lists in a small group.
  • Watch the lesson Elements of Culture: Explanation of the Major Elements That Define Culture as a class.
  • Pause at 0:41.
    • Write down the vocab words: symbols, language, values, and norms.
    • Briefly discuss what students know about each of these things and why they might be important elements of culture.
  • Continue watching the video. Pause at 1:46.
    • Have students create a 3-column chart. The first column will be labeled 'Element of Culture.' The second column will be labeled 'Definition'. The third column will be labeled 'Example.'
    • Under the first column, students will create four rows that are labeled 'Symbols,' 'Language,' 'Values,' and 'Norms.' Have students complete the 'Definition' and 'Example' spaces for the 'Symbols' section.
  • Continue watching the video. Pause at 3:55.
    • Have students complete the 'Language' and 'Values' sections of their chart.
  • Watch the remainder of the video.
    • Discuss the distinctions between norms, folkways, and mores. Have students complete their chart.
  • Use the lesson's printable worksheet to check for understanding.

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