Components of a Strong Family Unit

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  • Lesson Identification and TEKS Addressed

    Cluster : Human Services

    Course : Interpersonal Studies

  • TEKS Student Expectations

    • (7) The student determines methods that promote an effective family unit. The student is expected to:
      • (A) describe diverse family structures
      • (B) identify the function of individuals within the family
      • (C) compare functions of families in various cultures
      • (E) determine procedures for meeting individual and family needs through resource management
      • (F) explain how technology influences family functions and relationships
      • (G) determine the impact of effective family functioning on community and society
  • Basic Direct Teach Lesson

    Instructional Objectives

    The student will:

    • determine the ways to meet individual and family needs
    • investigate the programs available to help families
    • understand the various family structures and what is required to make a family an effective one
    • create a story book depicting the components of a strong family unit In collaboration with a partner
  • Rationale


    What are the functions of individuals within the family? How do they influence the family unit? We relate and interact with our family members every day. While each family system and dynamics are unique, there are some common threads. What happens to the family when the car breaks down or someone gets ill? Usually these life events affect the entire family unit. Members of the family have to assist in helping others, assuming additional roles of responsibility and sacrificing their own needs and wants for a period of time. A strong family unit will adjust to changes for the good of the family. Do you want to have a family of your own someday? Do you know what the components of a strong family unit are?

  • Duration of Lesson

    Four 45 minute class periods

  • Word Wall

    Abuse: To knowingly hurt someone, to show power or control, or to belittle someone in order to benefit yourself

    Adoptive family: A family unit in which parents have gone through the legal process to have non-biological children made part of the family

    Blended family: Consists of a previously married husband and/or wife with children (step-children)

    Couple/childless family: Husband and wife that have no children

    Dysfunctional family: A family that operates negatively thus damaging the individual family members and the family unit as a whole

    Extended family: Several generations of one family living together and/or sharing family activities

    Family: A group of people related by blood, marriage or adoption living together as a unit

    Foster family: Parents that support non-biological children by providing a home and family for a period of time

    Healthy family: A family that demonstrates love and support and possesses qualities such as communication, respect, forgiveness, trust and laughter

    Marker event: A significant event that marks real change in one’s life

    Nuclear family: Includes two parents and their biological or adopted children

    Roles: The responsibilities we assume and how we portray them individually and in the family

    Scapegoating: The person who gets blamed for the problem is the scapegoat

    Single adult family: Household consisting of one adult

    Single parent family: Includes one parent and one or more children

    Traditions: Rituals that bring meaning and memories to the family

  • Materials/Specialized Equipment Needed


    • computer with projector for PowerPoint™ presentation
    • computers with Internet access (be sure to follow district guidelines)


    • brochures from the counselor’s office pertaining to different types of family crises
    • family games such as Bingo, Monopoly or Game of Life
    • pictures of families
    • pictures of various types of homes


    • construction paper
    • magazines
    • markers
    • paper
    • pen
    • pencil
    • prizes such as pens, pencils, stickers or candy

    copies of handouts (see All Lesson Attachments tab)

  • Anticipatory Set

    Prior to class:

    Become familiar with StoryBird by viewing a tutorial on using
    StoryBird is a visual storytelling community and a global hub of readers, writers and artists of all ages.
    The students will be creating a story during Independent Practice. The sign-up is free for this visual website.

    Display pictures of different types of family structures around the room.

    Teacher note: Please be aware that some students may be sensitive to discussing their family structures and situations.

    Before class begins:

    As students walk in, have photos and magazine pictures of different types of family structures on display around the room. Begin discussions about family structures. Ask, “Do any of these look like your family structure?” Allow time for classroom discussion.

    Discuss what the word “family” means to the students. Use to develop a word cloud of the terms and adjectives.

    Write a scenario on the board. Read it aloud to the class and have the students brainstorm ways the family can help the situation.

    Scenario: A family of four lives in a small three-bedroom home: one bedroom for the parents and one bedroom for each child. The home has one and a half bathrooms. Grandmother lives alone. Recently she fell and now needs to have hip surgery. After surgery, Grandmother will need a lot of care and physical therapy. She cannot return to her home during the recovery period because she will be bed-bound for two months, and there is no one at her home to take care of her. She will need a private room to receive physical therapy. Eventually, she will need assistance getting around.

    • What can the family do for Grandmother?
    • How will the roles and responsibilities change for the family?
    • How will the family manage its time and resources to help Grandmother?
    • How can technology assist in this process?
    • Do you have a grandparent living with you? How does this influence your family dynamics?
    • Do you have other relatives living with you?
    • What is a blended family?

    Distribute Family Scavenger Hunt (see All Lesson Attachments tab) handout. Students will walk around the classroom to find someone who has the family dynamics or situations stated on the handout. No person can sign more than one, and no person can sign his or her own name. Allow the students about five minutes to complete this activity. You may opt to pass out prizes for those students that completely fill out their scavenger hunts.

    • What did you discover about your peers concerning family dynamics?
    • What do you think the components are for a strong family unit?

    If quantity of data permits, have students create bar graphs. Allow a student to demonstrate how to work out a percentage.

  • Direct Instruction with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Review lesson objectives, terms and definitions.

    Introduce PowerPoint™ Components of a Strong Family Unit (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Students will complete the graphic organizer Double-Entry Journal Notes (see All Lesson Attachments tab) during the PowerPoint™ presentation. Students may take additional notes on the back.

    Distribute Components of a Strong Family Unit – Graphic Organizer (see All Lesson Attachments tab) handout. Allow students to complete the graphic organizer. Discuss their answers. Check for understanding.

    Review the different types of family structures. Ask if each student can identify his or her own. Allow time for classroom discussion.

    Discuss family traditions and ask for examples. How do traditions differ among various cultures? Allow time for classroom discussion.

    As a group, compile a list titled “What Makes a Family Strong?” Assign a scribe to write the answers on the board. Ask students to correlate the list to their own families. How is it different? How is it similar?

    Video included in the PowerPoint™ presentation:

    • Faces of America
      Episode: Family traditions and customs. Stephen Colbert talks about traditions and customs he’s kept alive in his own family over the generations.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • checking for understanding
    • providing assistance
    • providing frequent praise
  • Guided Practice with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Distribute Resources and Support Services (see All Lesson Attachments tab) handout. With partners, students will research organizations that can provide support to individuals and families. Complete the chart by adding the necessary information.

    Distribute the handout Meeting Needs in the Family and Beyond (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Instruct the students to work with a partner or in a small group. Students will read the passage and write a response indicating how to meet the needs of an individual family and the neighbors. Students must find three resources from the Internet that could supply a means of help for the community and families. Distribute Hotlines and Online Resources (see All Lesson Attachments tab) as a resource for this activity.

    Assist students with Internet research and encourage them to think outside of what seems to be the obvious answer for help. There is no right or wrong answer. There are many ways to arrive at the solution.

    You may either have students report their findings to the class or take up their papers for a grade.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • providing peer tutoring
    • reducing length of assignment
    • providing frequent praise
  • Independent Practice/Laboratory Experience with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Have students work collaboratively in teams of two to write a short story depicting components of a strong family unit. Distribute Components of a Strong Family Unit Project (see All Lesson Attachments tab) handout. The students will use to sign up for a free account and create their stories or draw the story free-hand.

    Story should include:

    • Family life cycle
    • Family structures
    • Roles of an individual
    • Ways to meet individual and family needs
    • Resources and services available to the family
    • Use of technology within the family unit

    Check stories for correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.

    Distribute Rubric for Storytelling (see All Lesson Attachments tab) so that students may understand what is expected.

    Students will be provided with time to complete their projects. Provide guidance as needed. Allow students to proofread and edit each other’s work and practice the oral component of their projects before class presentations. Stories will be shared during Lesson Closure.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • assisting student in gathering information
    • providing praise and encouragement
  • Lesson Closure

    Review lesson objectives, terms and definitions.

    Students will read and share the stories they created during Independent Practice.

    Distribute handout What Did You Learn Today? (see All Lesson Attachments tab). The lesson closure activity is an instructional strategy which allows students to summarize main ideas, evaluate class processes, answer questions posed at the beginning of the lesson, and link to both the past and future. It also allows the teacher to evaluate the progress of the students and lesson.

  • Summative/End of Lesson Assessment with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Team presentations will be assessed with the previously provided rubric and personal reflection assignment.

    Students are to write a reflection paper briefly describing the different family structures. The paper should conclude with students explaining their own family structures and the unique benefits of their family units.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • grading according to mastery of work
    • assisting students in gathering information
    • providing frequent praise

  • References/Resources


    Microsoft Clip Art: Used with permission from Microsoft.


    • Strengthening Family and Self. The Goodheart-Wilcox Company, Inc., Copyright 2004


    • Forum on Child and Family Statistics
      The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, or the Forum, is a working group of federal agencies that collect, analyze and report data on issues related to children and families. The Forum has partners from 22 federal agencies as well as partners in private research organizations.
    • Maternal and Child Health
      The Federal Title V Maternal and Child Health program has provided a foundation for ensuring the health of the nation’s mothers, women, children, and youth, including children and youth with special health care needs, and their families.


    • Faces of America
      Episode: Family traditions and customs. Stephen Colbert talks about traditions and customs he’s kept alive in his own family over the generations.
  • Additional Required Components

    English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Strategies

    • Word wall
    • Journal entries
    • Additional time to prepare written paper
    • Ask students to repeat your instructions back to you to be sure they know what is expected of them.
    • Discuss vocabulary in detail, making sure students understand before moving on.
    • Use graphic organizers and visuals to help explain the lesson.
  • College and Career Readiness Connection

    AchieveTexas Career Cluster Crosswalks

    The Career Cluster Crosswalks housed on the AchieveTexas website provide Texas teachers with a direct connection between their CTE course TEKS and the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS). Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Cross-Disciplinary integration are the focus of the CCRS. These college and career readiness standards are essential in the planning and delivery of CTE lessons. The extent to which the integration occurs is determined by the methods and strategies utilized by each teacher.

    Career Cluster Crosswalks for Education and Training, Hospitality and Tourism, and Human Services Career Clusters can be found at:

  • Recommended Strategies

    Reading Strategies

    Current Events:
    Assign students to read about the family unit. Information can be found in newspaper articles, magazines, journals and online print.

    • The following articles from PBS discusses military personnel returning home and the adjustments that the family has to make. Other related articles are on this website as well.

    Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

    • Encourage students to connect reading to real life experiences or prior knowledge. Read articles or books on families. Examples could be: stories of historical families, presidential families, a current news story of a community family or other biographies and autobiographies.
    • Encourage students to “make predictions” about the text content prior to reading. “I think it’s going to be about…” This encourages active reading and keeps students interested. While reading, the students may revise their original predictions or make new ones.
  • Quotes

    Look for the good, not the evil, in the conduct of members of the family.
    -Yiddish Proverb

    When I do something in my family because I really enjoy it, then my duty has become my pleasure. And it is a pleasure for all the people around me.
    -Dr. Jess Lair

    The Family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us together.
    -Erma Bombeck

    A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal and the common cold.
    -Ogden Nash

  • Multimedia/Visual Strategies


    • Components of a Strong Family Unit
    • Presentation Notes for Components of a Strong Family Unit


    Free iPad App:

    Health Mate – Steps Tracker and Life Coach


    Dinner makes a difference: Laurie David at TEDxManhattan
    Producer of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” Laurie David has authored best-selling books, executive produced television specials and documentaries and has been called the Bono of climate change by Vanity Fair. Now she’s bringing it all home to her kitchen table.


    Faces of America
    Episode: Family traditions and customs. Stephen Colbert talks about traditions and customs he’s kept alive in his own family over the generations.

    • Files for downloading:
  • Graphic Organizers/Handout

    Graphic Organizers:

    • Double-Entry Journal Notes
    • Components of a Strong Family Unit – Graphic Organizer


    • Components of a Strong Family Unit Project
    • Family Scavenger Hunt
    • Hotlines and Online Resources
    • Meeting the Needs of the Family and Beyond
    • Resources and Support Services
    • Rubric for Storytelling
    • Files for downloading:
  • Writing Strategies

    Journal Entries:

    • The best way to show support to a family member during a difficult time is____________________.
    • If I noticed abuse in my friend’s family, I could help by___________________.
    • A strong family unit consist of a family that ___________________________.
    • My roles in life include _______________________________.

    Writing Strategies:

    Role: Parents
    Audience: Children
    Format: Letter
    Topic: The needs of a strong family unit

  • Communication 90 Second Speech Topics

    Ask students to report verbally on the one of the following topics:

    • The importance of eating regular meals together as a family
    • Steps to resolve abuse in the family
  • Other Essential Lesson Components

    Enrichment activity

    • Students research and make a list of the available resources to deal with family abuse. Students could post in the counselor’s office or around the school (with permission).
    • Ask students to look for and identify the different family structures as a homework assignment. Cite examples of different types from TV shows, movies, literature or history. For each type, list the positive and negative characteristics of each type of family structure.
    • Research the latest statistics on effects of societal, demographic and economic trends on individuals and the family.
    • Research the process of adopting a child in the United States. Compare findings to adopting a child from another country.
    • TED Talks:
      TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer). The video below is related to this lesson. Allow students to view the video and lead a discussion concerning the TED Talk.

    Dinner makes a difference: Laurie David at TEDxManhattan
    Producer of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” Laurie David has authored best-selling books, executive produced television specials and documentaries and has been called the Bono of climate change by Vanity Fair. Now she’s bringing it all home to her kitchen table.

  • Family/Community Connection

    • Interview grandparents to gain an insight to how families and relationships have changed throughout the decades.
    • Search the Internet to analyze different family structures in other countries.
    • Compare and contrast with families in the United States.
    • Bring pictures from home and share your family structure with the class.
    • Ask a counselor or community guest speaker to come in and discuss the danger signs of abuse in the family. Speaker should give students ways to protect themselves and resources available to them, should they need it.
  • CTSO connection

    Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)

    Star Events:

    • Chapter Service Project (Display and Manual): A team event – recognizes chapters that develop and implement an in-depth service project that makes a worthwhile contribution to families, schools and communities. Students must use Family and Consumer Sciences content and skills to address and take action on a community need.
    • Interpersonal Communication – An individual or team event – recognizes participants who use Family and Consumer Sciences and/or related occupations skills and apply communication techniques to develop a project designed to strengthen communication.

    National Program:

    Stop the Violence – FCCLA program with tip sheets, lesson plans and ideas for further discussions of family violence, bullying and domestic abuse. Ask students to make a PowerPoint discussing a topic.

  • Service Learning Projects

    Successful service learning project ideas originate from student concerns and needs. Allow students to brainstorm about service projects pertaining to the lesson. For additional information on service learning see

    Have a group meeting to discuss ways to help out a local women’s shelter.

    • call to talk to an employee about what students could do to help
    • have students make posters to post around school asking for donations of shelter needs
    • gather the items by a certain date
    • encourage students to write encouraging notes to add with donations
    • deliver items to shelter
    • report community service project to school or local newspaper

  • All Attachments