Ryan Schram's Anthrocyclopaedia

Anthropology presentations and learning resources

User Tools

Site Tools


Proposal for a Grade 12 lesson on kinship

Due May 1 at 5:00 p.m.
Length 1000 words
Weight 20%


In this assignment, you should write an essay that argues for your answer to this question.

Why is the study of kinship in anthropology important and useful?

Your essay has several required parts. Each part contributes to your argument for your answer to this question. You will be graded on whether you include these required parts, and how well you argue for your answer to the main question.

Most of your essay will present your argument for your answer.


In this assignment, your essay should take the form of a proposal to include new subject matter in a Grade 12 social studies class. Imagine that you have been invited to submit a proposal to the school board overseeing high schools in your area. They would like to receive a proposal for new topics and subject areas that Grade 12 students will be required to take to graduate.

Your job is to propose that students should study one basic idea about kinship relationships and kinship groups that anthropologists have developed.

You need to convince the school board to accept your proposal by explaining to them why the study of kinship in anthropology is important and useful to students' general education, even if they never study anthropology again.

You also need to show them that you can make a specialized idea accessible to high school students.

Your proposal has to meet specific requirements:

  • It should have a single, clear answer to the main question.
  • It should present a brief argument for your answer.
  • It should describe briefly one idea from the study of kinship in anthropology and present it as an example that shows that the study of kinship is important.
  • It should propose a class activity that will help students learn about this idea, and explain why this class activity will help them see the importance of the idea.
  • It should conclude with a restatement of your main idea with an emphasis on the larger implications of this idea, that is, why it's important and why it will improve students' general understanding of the world they live in.

Your proposal cannot include certain things:

  • You cannot cite or quote from sources to add weight to your argument. For instance, you should not do additional reading and research into education, or into the study of kinship, so you can bolster your own argument. Imagine that the school board will evaluate your proposal based on what you yourself say and how well thought out it is.
    • You can cite our class readings as sources for ideas that you want to discuss and apply to your argument.

Advice on writing this essay

The most important part of this assignment is that you have a single, clear answer to the main question: Why is studying kinship in anthropology important and useful. You can have a thoughtful and well-designed approach to teaching kinship in a high school class, but if you don't make an argument for why everyone should be required to take your lesson, the school board will reject your proposal.

  • Don't take up more than 200 words describing your idea for a class activity. The most important required parts of the proposal are where you argue for why you think studying kinship is important, and where you explain one idea as an example of what you mean.

The location and type of school does not matter for this assignment. You should not make assumptions about what kinds of students will take your proposed lessons. All you need to know is that they are at the end of their high school education and need to take your lesson to graduate. You are proposing to add something new to the basic education of all adults.

Many things people study in high school have no immediate, practical application in everyday life. People study math and foreign languages, for instance, because these help people develop their ability to think and solve problems. People study history so that they can have the same shared knowledge of their society as other people. In the same way, you should justify studying kinship, a topic in anthropology, by showing how it can have a more general value for everyone's intellectual and personal development.

Another important part of this assignment is to describe how you would make the ideas from anthropology you think are important accessible and understandable to students who have never studied anthropology.

Your ideas about how to teach kinship in high school should also help support your argument about the importance of kinship. The ideas for teaching that you create are your examples that show your audience—the school board—that you can do what you propose.

When writing persuasively, you also have to make sure that your ideas stand on their own. You should not assume that your readers know anything about what you are presenting to them. That means you have to give them all the information they need to understand your ideas, but no more than what is necessary. If you want to introduce a specific idea, you need to explain it to your readers in terms they understand. All you should assume about your readers is that they are educated and possess basic knowledge of the world that can be found in an encyclopedia. They know, for instance, that anthropology is a social science, but they do not know why anthropologists study kinship.

A guide to the unit

1001/2020/plan_for_an_hsc_lesson_on_kinship.txt · Last modified: 2020/04/14 21:26 by Ryan Schram (admin)