Create a Culture Project Ideas

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Culture can be tricky to study, but one way to explore it is by making one. These project ideas can help your students learn about the elements of culture and consider the nuances and subtleties of cultural interaction.

Culture

Culture is ever present and endlessly influential, but also very hard for many students to describe and explain. One of the best ways to get them thinking about the concept of culture is by asking them to create one. These project ideas are designed to be mixed and matched, and can be easily adapted for students of different grade levels.

Creating a Culture

Let's start by looking at some ideas for getting your students to create a fictional culture. Any of the following project ideas give your students the freedom to be creative but offer enough structure to keep this project realistic in scope and goals.

Humans on Mars

Students are going to imagine that humans have colonized Mars, and they are going to describe the culture of the first Martian colony. To do this, students will randomly draw three cultures from a hat. These are the three cultures that worked together to found the Mars colony. Students will research these three cultures in depth, then will create Martian culture by combining elements of all three and adding any new cultural elements that would have arisen from life on Mars. Thus, their new culture will display syncretism and cultural innovation, and students should demonstrate thought into how all these ideas interact with each other.

Create a Culture

Students will each receive a random description of a landscape (including climate, resources, and natural features) and imagine that people live there who have never been contacted by the outside world. Students will build a culture to fit into this landscape, considering how people interact with the environment and build a society that works in this place. For example, what are their customs, behavior patterns, structures, festivals, taboos, and ideas about the arts? If you want to expand this in a fun way, you can let students introduce fantastical or magical elements into their fictional culture as well. These elements must have a clear impact on the culture and fit into the society, economy, and other parts of this world.

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