Reading our World & Exploring Perspectives: Identity and Culture

An Inquiry-Based Research Unit on Cultural Awareness and Analysis

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For all of human history, individuals and groups of people have worked to form their identities.

Some elements of our identity are unique and specific to each of us. Other elements are shared and help us feel like part of a group. These elements are all part of our culture.

Yet, we don't often pause to ask what is culture and how does our culture influence the way we view our world?

Big Ideas:

  • Identify and explain characteristics (e.g. freedom, individualism, the common good) that shape culture in one's family, community, and America
  • Select and analyze various cultural artifacts (e.g. food, music, clothing) that represent these characteristics of culture
  • Recognize and elaborate upon various perspectives related to culture, broadly, and specifically related to one's own cultural identity

Essential Questions:

  • What is culture? How do various individuals, communities, and groups describe the characteristics of “culture?”
    • What are characteristics of culture? How do these characteristics influence and contribute to culture?
    • When are cultural characteristics seen as positive and when can they be seen as negative?
  • What is cultural identity? How does a person’s culture influence identity?
    • What is my own cultural identity in relation to your family and community?
    • How is American culture described through various forms of media, in our schools, and communities?
  • How do these visions and elements of culture influence your life?
    • What are artifacts of your culture such as images, music, food, clothing, ceremonies, pop culture icons, etc.?
    • How do you imagine these artifacts and characteristics of culture will continue to influence your life in the future?

Unit Overview

Unit Preview (Friday, March 28)

Week 1
March 31

Lesson 1: Digital Identity and Exploring Images of Culture
April 1

Lesson 2: Youth Voices and Cultural Conversations
April 2

Lesson 3: Cultural Artifacts and Ethnography
April 3

Lesson 4: Introducing the Cultural Collage
April 4

No School
Culture Collage due after spring break on Tuesday, April 15
Week 2
April 14

Lesson 5: Visual Literacy and Design
April 15

Lesson 6: Collage Sharing and Literature Circle Books
April 16

Lesson 7: Literature Circles and Inquiry
April 17

Lesson 8: Fashion and Image in American Culture
April 18

Lesson 9: Visual Messages in Culture and Personal Inquiry

Week 3
April 21

Lesson 10: Literature Circle Meeting #1 (Personal Inquiry, Close Reading, Culture Analysis)
April 22

Lesson 11: Digital Organization of Ideas
April 23

Lesson 12: Language in America
April 24

Lesson 13: Literature Circle Meeting #2 (Close Reading)
April 25

Lesson 14: Questioning and Speculating

Week 4
April 28

Lesson 15: Literature Circle Meeting #3 (Outside Texts Relating to the Novel)

April 29

Lesson 16: Research
April 30

Lesson 17: Researching
May 1

Lesson 18: Cultural Questions, Media Literacy, and "Hacking"

May 2

Lesson 19: Research, Writing, "Hacking", and Critical Reading Workshop

Week 5
May 5

Lesson 20: Literature Circle Meeting #4: Final thoughts and reflections
May 6

Lesson 21: Writing Workshop and Peer Response
May 7

Lesson 22: Peer Response and Multimedia Work
May 8

Lesson 23: Workshop Media Projects
May 9

Lesson 24: Reflection and Sharing Research Papers

May 12

Lesson 25: Reflect, Celebrate, Share

Unit Resources