Families of the World Project

Family and Consumer Sciences Course Students in the Middletown Area School District in the United States are learning about family life in other countries with the Families of the World video series. By comparing and contrasting how family responsibilities are met in diverse cultures, students acknowledge the importance of families and learn to respect others’ values, beliefs and traditions.

In the sixth grade Family and Consumer Sciences course, each student is assigned to view one Families of the World video. The students read and highlight the scripts, which are located in the accompanying Teacher’s Guide. After an overview of family types and functions, the students prepare a short oral presentation, accompanied by a slide presentation of images that have been licensed for modification and reuse by Creative Commons. The presentations explain the family responsibilities that are shown in the videos. These projects are evaluated with a rubric based on Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs.

To conclude the unit, the students write comments in an on-line discussion forum. Middletown has used Moodle and Canvas learning management systems to host the forums.

In my experience teaching this unit for three years, the students have been engaged and have exhibited a high level of critical thinking skills. The return on investment in the Families of the World videos has resulted in a greater understanding of the responsibilities of families for fulfilling physical and mental basic needs. In addition, students have developed a more empathetic perspective towards people in environments and circumstances that are different than their own.

Andrea Holtry

You can view and download a PDF of the lesson plan.


Andrea Holtry is chair of the Family and Consumer Sciences department in the Middletown Area School District in Pennsylvania.  She has taught classes in Financial and Resource Management, Balancing Family, Work and Community Responsibilities, Food Science and Nutrition and Child Development for over twenty years. She holds a Master of Science in Learning Technologies degree from Harrisburg University and a Master of Science degree in Workforce Education and Development from Pennsylvania State University.  In 2011, she was honored as Middletown Area School District’s teacher of the year.  Throughout her career, she has modeled lifelong learning.  Family and Consumer Sciences education encourages each student to prioritize goals, accomplish relevant, real-life tasks, and reflect on the meaning of family, work and community.

Please refer to the district’s website, http://www.raiderweb.org, for additional information about the Middletown Area School District. 


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