Presenting Anthropology - Weeks 11&12 (Readings)

Kids Challenge

When did you first learn what anthropology was? My favorite quotation from Kurt Vonnegut goes:
"I didn't learn until I was in college about all the other cultures, and I should have learned that in the first grade. A first grader should understand that his or her culture isn't a rational invention; that there are thousands of other cultures and they all work pretty well; that all cultures function on faith rather than truth; that there are lots of alternatives to our own society. Cultural relativity is defensible and attractive. It's also a source of hope. It means we don't have to continue this way if we don't like it.
From today's class:
Cookie Excavation!
Unlike other social sciences, namely psychology and sociology, anthropology is almost never taught at the high school level, and only rarely seen in the lower grades' social studies classes. This lack of anthropology in K-12 education is problematic from many standpoints: first, it means that children do not get educated on the diversity of humans until college, and then only if they choose to take anthropology; second, it means that there are fewer anthropology majors (and consequently anthropologists) than biology majors; and third, it means that there are no opportunities for anthropologists to teach in the K-12 sector, limiting our job options after graduate school. Over the next two weeks, we will discuss the benefits to bringing anthropology into the K-12 classrooms and will generate ideas for presenting anthropology at different grade levels.
  • Assignment 1: Find at least one kids' book on anthropology (broadly conceived) at the library, bookstore, etc., and bring in to class.
  • Assignment 2: Alone or in a group, create something to teach kids about anthropology (either specific research or anthropology in general) - ideas include an interactive web game, a children's book, an in-class activity, a pop-up book, or an app. Be prepared to present it, justify your design and audience, and take criticisms and critiques. (Feel free to beta-test this with any kids you know first!)
(I forgot to post this prior to class this week, but you can check in on our excellent discussion today with the hashtag #shareanthro.)


Anonymous said…
An excellent idea, and a beautiful quote from one of my favourite authors.

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