Utah Lesson Plans
Social Studies
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Lower Elementary
  • Centers
  • Families
  • Lesson Plan
  • Rules
  • SEL
  • Same/different
  • UEN
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    Education Standards

    Family Centers

    Family Centers


    This lesson plan provides many center activities that are designed around the idea of "families" and apply language and math skills.


    This lesson plan provides many center activities that are designed around the idea of "families" and apply language and math skills.


    • pictures of families
    • graphing framework
      graphic organizer
    • magnetic or foam letters
    • cards with family vocabulary words on them 

    Additional Resources

    “What is a Family?” by Mary Ann Hoberman (
    “Family Theme Box” from Lakeshore Learning Materials
    Families Are Different by Nina Pellegrini
    How Can I Help? by Christine Hood (Creative Teaching Press)
    “Math With Connecting People Set” from ETA/ Cuisenaire


    Background for Teachers

    The children will come from families with varying characteristics. This makes a wonderful opportunity to explore what a family is and how it can look different. A natural gathering of data can occur at this time. Be careful to stress that each family is unique and children should not be made to feel that one family type is better or worse than another child’s family. Such gathering of data can illustrate the diversity of families. 

    Children can also write about families, since it is a topic of personal interest of which they have concrete knowledge. Many center activities can be designed around the idea of “families” to apply language and numeric skills.

    Instructional Procedures

    Invitation to Learn
    This poem by Mary Ann Hoberman is found on

    What is a family?
    Who is a family?
    One and another makes two is a family!
    Baby and father and mother: a family!
    Parents and sister and brother: a family!
    All kinds of people can make up a family.
    All kind of mixtures can make up a family.

    What is a family?
    Who is a family?
    The children that lived in a shoe is a family!
    A pair like a kanga and roo is a family!
    A calf and a cow that go moo is a family!
    All kinds of creatures can make up a family
    All kinds of numbers can make up a family

    What is a family?
    Who is a family?
    Either a lot or a few is a family;
    But whether there's ten or there's two in your family,
    All of your family plus you is a family!

    Instructional Procedures
    Below are several examples of family centers.

    Math Center: Using pictures of families, children will pick two pictures, and then decide which has more and which has less. They can also sort the pictures by number of people, number of girls, more boys than girls, number of children, etc. 

    Math Center: Create a class graph of how many people are in your family.

    Word Center: Students pull out a card with a family word on it (e.g., father, mother, sister, etc.) and then build the word with magnetic letters, letter cards, or wikki stix.

    Writing Center: Students create an individual 4-6 page predictable pattern book "I love my _____." Include word cards with picture clues for them to use to write. Students will also illustrate the picture to go along with the text. 

    Class book: Each student creates one page to put in a class book. The page is "I like to_____ with my family." Children write and illustrate the page. The class book can then be used for the book center or read around the room time. 

    Dramatic Play: Have props for things families do together, such as camping, doing things at home, etc. Include labels for things and paper to make lists like packing lists, shopping lists, letters, etc. 

    Art Center: Trace dishes to make a place mat. Label each item (e.g. plate, fork, spoon, etc.). Decorate and send home with the child so she can use it as a model to set the table correctly. 

    Cooperative Activity: Give each child a large piece of butcher paper folded into thirds with the heading "moms do," "dads do," and "kids do." Children will draw pictures of things that each person does to contribute in the family. The teacher or a helper can label things for the children as they draw them. Talk about the various roles children perceive in the family and what they can do to help at home.

    Intended Learning Outcomes

    Intended Learning Outcomes
    1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude. 

    Process Skills
    Classification, data collection, segmentation and blending, description


    Possible Extensions/Adaptations
    A BINGO game can be made with family names or items around the house to improve vocabulary (especially helpful for ESL children). 

    Family Connections
    Send home a responsibility chart. The child and parent together think of about five things the child can do to help out at home. The parent then initials the job after it is completed. The chart is returned to school and shared with the class.

    Assessment Plan

    Ask the children questions about the graph such as “How big is the family that the most people have?” “Who has the smallest family?” “Who has the largest family?”

    Ask the children to explain how they sorted the family pictures. Answers will show the level of sophistication of the skill of sorting.

    Look at the children’s writing to evaluate concepts they already know, such as beginning sounds, ending sounds, capitals and lowercase letters, or spaces in between words, etc. 

    Listen to the children as they talk about what roles or responsibilities members of the family have. You can gather oral language and anecdotal notes at this time as well.