1st Grade New York


This inquiry engages students in expanding their understandings of families in general and the idea that families can be both similar and different. Although much of family life may be shared—language, religion, culture, and traditions—there are important differences across these elements. The compelling question “How can families be the same and different?” offers students opportunities to explore a range of family dimensions— structure, activities, and traditions. By doing so, students can see how their family and their classmates’ families share commonalities and differences. In any inquiry around students’ families, however, teachers should use their professional judgment and demonstrate sensitivity regarding the varied family structures of their students and the availability of information.


Compelling Question:

How Can Families Be the Same and Different?

Staging the Question:

Brainstorm responses to the question “Who am I in my family?”

Supporting Question What does my family look like?

Formative Task Draw and label a picture of family members.

Sources Source A: Teacher-supplied images of their families
Source B: The Families Project


Supporting Question What do families do?

Formative Task Brainstorm activities that families do to support one another.

Sources Source A: “A Trip to the Store”
Source B: “Happy Birthday”
Source C: “Our House Rules”


Supporting Question What special things do families do together?

Formative Task Draw a picture of a family tradition or celebration and describe what it is and why the family does this together.

Sources Source A: Image bank: Family activities
Source B: Student-generated images and artifacts

Summative Performance Task

Argument: How can families be the same and different? Construct an argument that addresses the compelling question using specific claims and relevant evidence.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Accomplished through Formative Tasks 1 and 3
Assess: Accomplished through Formative Task 3
Act: Plan a family evening at school to highlight the many aspects of family life.