CONCEPT BOXES: A powerful tool to see how Family Studies is all around us


Family Studies as an important/necessary school subject has often faced many struggles in the education community. Sometimes, students and their parents question the need and/or importance of Family Studies as a subject necessary to take in high school. Indeed, when the K-12 curriculum changed, Family Studies was dropped completely from Grade 7 and 8 and still, Family Studies as a high school credit is completely optional.

The task of creating a concept box offers students and their families an opportunity to see how important Family Studies is all around them. Once they are able to understand the need for guided learning, understanding, and critical thinking in solving Family Studies related problems, they will recognize the value of Family Studies education.


Concept boxes can be used as an assessment tool, introductory activity, or conceptual understanding activity.

Get a shoe box or plastic container. Ask students to find objects (pictures, advertisements, household items, etc.) that represent the topics related to Family Studies (i.e. healthy eating, body image, attachment, effective communication, personal development, transition to adulthood, etc.). For example, a measuring cup – food and nutrition; a stuffed animal they’ve had since they were young – attachment; a fashion magazine – body image; etc. Between 5 and 10 for each topic should be ample.

For each object or artifact, ask students to justify (either verbally or in writing) how that object illustrates the concepts learned. For example, if they have just completed a unit on careers they might include a newspaper ad for “employment wanted” to illustrate the job hunt; they might put in a necktie to illustrate proper attire for a job interview; or they might put in a copy of a web page they designed to illustrate their related skills, etc.

The completed concept box with artifacts and justifications could then be assessed for both communication (use of language, visuals, and symbols) and application (transfer of concepts to new contexts). Concept boxes can be used as an assessment tool, introductory activity, or conceptual understanding activity. The objects you ask students to find, the expectations of their presentation, and the purpose behind the activity will help dictate how to use the tool best.

Resource submitted by Derek Wun, Vice-President

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