ANTHROPOLOGY CURRICULUM FOR GRADES 9-12
Anthropology. 2000. Gene Boteler and Mary Boteler. The Center for
Learning. 259 pp.
This curriculum is written by two former participants of the Smithsonian
Institution/George Washington University Anthropology for Teachers Program
who teach anthropology at the high school level. The authors have designed
this spiral-bound manual as a primary teaching tool or supplementary
Anthropology is organized into five parts. Part 1: "Studying the Human
Story" introduces students to the study and fields of anthropology.
Students conduct an anthropological study of their fellow high school
students, determine what objects can tell us about culture, gain a
perspective of the concept of time, and learn how natural selection works
Part 2: "Humanity's Closest Relatives" explores the origins of human
physiology and behavior by focusing on the primates. Part 3: "Human
Beginnings" explains how biological anthropology determines what makes us
human. This section covers the fossil evidence, mitrochondrial DNA studies
and migration theories, and genetics.
Part 4: "Hallmarks and Touchstones of Culture" demonstrates the variety of
the human condition and explores such topics as cultural change, kinship,
gender roles, marriage, economic activities, environment, warfare, and more.
Part 5: "Expressions of Culture" focuses on taboos, religion, language,
art, potlatch, sports, and a Yanomamo case study.
This curriculum contains 40 creative lesson plans and 80 handouts. While
it is geared for grades 9-12, it easily can be adapted for lower grades.
The authors have made suggestions on handling such potentially sensitive or
controversial topics as evolution and religion. While this book is an
excellent text for anthropology, it also would be a valuable supplement for
teaching classes on biology, history, world cultures, math, social studies,
Order from: The Center for Learning, PO Box 910, Villa Maria, PA 16155;
(724) 964-8083; (800) 767-9090; www.centerforlearning.org. The book is
listed under senior high electives on the web site.
(Originally published in the winter/spring 1999-2000 issue of AnthroNotes)
>>> LJMil@... 09/30/02 11:44AM >>>
We've corresponded before on anthropology in high schools and I was one of
those who suggested some books to you. I totally agree with you that
anthropology desperately needs to be offered in the high schools. However,
doubt that any suitable textbook will be written in the near future.
Instead, I would recommend that a teacher combine straight-forward
discussions with selected articles written for the lay public. In recent
years, ANNUAL EDITIONS (among other publishers) have culled interesting,
plain-language articles from magazines like NATURE, DISCOVER and
In my comm. college classes (before retiring), I often used one good
as a spring board to discuss various anthropological topics. Students
always came alive, asked more questions and showed more interest with this
technique than with others.
Also, many of the "just regular" high school students you mention attend
community colleges. Most seem to show genuine interest in the
anthropologically relevant current issues in spite of the reading and
skills they might lack. This has led me to believe that rather than trying
to teach anthropology courses in high school (we've tried for years and
generally failed), we should try to teach the "stuff" of anthropology.
For example, what if we created a unit in some general social studies
curriculum on "human diversity" (we could even call it something like "Why
People Do What They Do"). In this, we could focus discussion on
issue-oriented matters like evolution (call it something else), race,
culture, etc. Almost any of today's news headlines could provide a
for these and many more anthropological topics.
I'm often amazed at how many people have anthropological knowledge and
perspective and may have never taken an anthropology course. I recently
attended the annual AARP Conference in San Diego and heard two of the
speakers—actors Edward James Olmos and James Earl Jones—deliver
the topics of "race" and "culture," respectively) that belonged in an
101 textbook. Their audience, of course, were people 50 yrs. old plus,
of whom probably never went to college. Nevertheless, both talks were
frequently interrupted by applause at statements that for us were either
anthropological truisms or reasoned conclusions based on anthropological
facts and knowledge. Both speakers received standing ovations, and—the
actors' obvious charisma aside—certainly some of the applause was in
appreciation of the anthropological content and perspective they provided.
I think that anthropology's legacy for the future will be its perspective,
its way of seeing and thinking about the world and human beings. I think
the current case in Georgia has shown) that this perspective needs to be
infused into the K-12 curriculum, at all levels, under whatever label and
whatever ways it can.
(Sorry for rambling on. As you know, retirees have more time...)
Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
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