Family Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Do your students know what type of family they have? A video lesson provides the basics and an activity gives students a chance to show what they've learned. Optional extras such as extensions and related lessons are included as well.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'family'
  • describe different types of families


45 minutes to 1 hour


  • White paper
  • Crayons, colored pencils, or markers
  • Index cards labeled with different types of families (e.g. one mother, one father, two sisters; a mother, a stepfather, and two step-siblings, and so on)
  • A bowl or container

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

Key Vocabulary

  • Nuclear family
  • Matrifocal family
  • Extended family
  • Blended family


  • Begin by asking students to draw a picture of their families.
  • When all students have finished drawing, have them briefly explain what they've drawn to the class.
  • Now play the video lesson Family Systems: Definition and Types, pausing at 1:16.
  • Now have the students guess which type of family they have based on the four types displayed on the screen.
  • Play the video lesson once more, allowing to continue until it is finished.
  • As the lesson is playing, write the key vocabulary terms on the board along with a few words to define each type.
  • Now ask students to raise their hands if they correctly identified their type of family. If they did not, have them correct it now.

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