Towards a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society

Families can be different

Every Family is the Same. Every Family is Different.

Our world is a diverse place, and this diversity is evident in our families as well. The differences among families might be common. However, that does not automatically make children comfortable about their understanding regarding families. Since many families tend to look different from their own, it is harder for children to identify the points of similarity between families. The early years in school is crucial for building the understanding among children regarding the uniqueness of families. Our efforts should be aimed at helping children understand that diversity is a good thing.

The lessons pertaining to families contained in the EVS textbook aim at helping students recognize and accept the differences as well as the similarities among themselves and others.


  1. Understanding, appreciating, and respecting similarities and differences.
  2. Exhibiting pride in their own unique families.
  3. Learning about different types of families.
  4. Identifying specific similarities and differences between their family and the families of their classmates.

Some questions to explore: “What makes a family a family?”; “How can someone who looks different be the same as I am?”; “How do you feel when you visit a family that is different from yours?”; “What does it mean to accept someone’s differences?”

Main ideas for Grade 3

  • The family is the first group of social contact for most people. It has a very important influence on one’s personality.
  • The people who constitute a family and their relationships with one another may vary from one family to the other. This is evident both in traditional societies as well as in rapidly changing urban societies of the present day. It is the functions that a group performs which help us decide whether a particular group is a family or not.
  • The family provides nurturing and care to its members and fulfils several social and economic functions.

Main ideas for Grade 4

  • We learn many things from our family—the customs we follow, our attitudes towards others and the world around us, and many of our basic values. In fact, our family shapes and influences us so strongly that it makes us who we are in many ways.
  • There can be many issues that could lead to strains and conflicts within the family. Everyone in a family may not be treated equally. Some family members have more rights and more power while making decisions than other members of the same family.
  • What happens within a family is a reflection of what we see in the world around us. In fact, families are like the society, but in a smaller scale.


1. Circle of similarities:

Divide the class into two groups having equal number of students. Ask one group to stand in a circle facing outside. Ask the other group to stand in circle facing the other (inner) circle. This arrangement will allow each student to facing another student in the other circle. Discuss about the words ‘same’ and ‘different’. Ask the students to find some traits about their partner that are same and some traits that are different. The teacher is required to provide some examples.

In the next step, the partners will be given some questions. Each student needs to ask these questions to their partner. Once all the questions are over, the responses will be shared in the whole class to find out the number of traits that were same and different. One of the circles can be asked to move one step to the right or to the left in order to get new partners. After this, the questioning session can be continued.

Debrief: The students can be asked to go back to their seats. Some questions can be used to conduct a discussion. “Were the answers of you and your partner more often the same or were they different?”; “Is it alright to have different opinions and responses from your friends?”; “What would happen if everyone in the class were exactly the same?”; “In what way does it make our class community better to be different from each other in some ways?”

2. Family stories:

The teacher should share two stories from the textbooks and ask questions to facilitate a discussion.

Questions for Grade 3:

  1. Name two things that are the same in both the families.
  2. Name two things that are different in both the families.
  3. Name one thing that is the same about your family and their family.
  4. Name one thing that is different about your family and their family.
  5. What if kids in their family felt a little sad or embarrassed by feeling different from other kids? What advice would you give them?

Responses to these questions can be compared and further discussed in the classroom.

Questions for Grade 4:

A graphical representation can be charted regarding the things that are same and different about families. This can be shared with the class. (Attached- Activity 2 sheet)

Ideas to conclude:

A family has the following characteristics:

  • Provides nurturing, love, and careto its members
  • Provides an identity and a name to all its members.
  • Provides a child its first education. Languages and social behaviour are first learned within the family. The family also shapes and mould the likes and dislikes, etc. of a child.
  • Transmits traditions from one generation to the next.
  • Looks after the economic needs of its members and also shares certain resources, such as land or a house.
  • Usually has members who are related by blood and who live together under the same roof, though this is not necessary.

3. Relationship and me:

There are names for the relationship we share with others in a family. Word cards are made for each of the relationships. The students can be asked to hold any of the cards and tell the name of that person in their family. The students can also be asked to match the English word to the appropriate Tamil word for each of the relationships.

4. Creating a family tree:

Word cards on different relationships can be given to the students. They can write the names of the people in their family based on the relationship. This can be arranged to make a family tree.

(A sample family-tree template is attached.)

Resource idea reference: Sangatti kit,

3, 4
No votes yet