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Standards-Based Education:
Cultural Anthropology

Pacific Worlds > Education > Standards-Based Education > Cultural Anthropology


The Hawai‘i Standards document states, "The study of culture is more than holidays and food, costumes and crafts. It prepares students to think about culture as a system of beliefs, traditions, etc., and to use that knowledge to celebrate diversity and unity and to develop empathy for people and things different from themselves."

Culture is very much the focus of Pacific Worlds, though we see culture as integral with history, science, environmental understanding, and social and political systems.

Addressing the Standards:
Pacific Islands share many cultural characteristics, but there is also considerable cultural difference across the region. The name "Pacific Worlds" acknowledges that each culture, with its language, constitutes a distinct construction of the "world."

Additionally, due to their small size, Pacific Island entities have developed important ways of culturally adapting to their limited space and resource base. Social and Cultural values and institutions play important roles in maintaining balance both within the society, and with the environment.

Information in Pacific Worlds websites is related largely through story-telling, and the first-person narration focuses on cultural perceptions, rather than "factual" accounts. This mode of conveying knowledge and of understanding the world manifests distinctly within each culture.

Given this strong cultural orientation to this project, we hope that teachers will have little difficulty discerning how this project can be used to address the Standards.

Below are listed the content standards as laid out for Hawai‘i Schools (Source: "Social Studies Content Standards"). Use the ideas listed above to apply to the specific standards listed for each category and each grade level.

Content Standards, Cultural Anthropology:
(taken directly from the Standards booklet)

Students understand culture as a system of beliefs, knowledge, and practices shared by a group.

Grades 4 - 5:

• Explain how language, stories, music, dance, artifacts, traditions, beliefs, values, and behaviors are elements of culture and contribute to the preservation of cultures.

Grades 6 - 8:

• Describe and analyze the ways in which different cultures have influenced and continue to influence families, communities, nations, and world.

Grades 9 - 12:

• Describe similarities and differences in ways cultures use rules, folkways, mores, and taboos to define individual rights and responsibilities and analyze the implications of those beliefs and actions on the larger community.


Students understand and respect the myriad of ways that society addresses human needs and wants.

Grades 4 - 5:

• Examine and explain how individuals, groups, and nations deal with conflict, cooperation, and interdependence to become more adept at perspective taking.

Grades 6 - 8:

• Explain conditions and motivations that contribute to conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among different individuals, groups and/or nations, and suggest alternative “win-win” solutions to persistent contemporary and emerging global issues.

Grades 9 - 12:

• Analyze issues of cultural assimilation and preservation from the perspective of diverse ethnic and racial groups in Hawai‘i, the US, and the world and work collaboratively with individuals or groups to support and honor cultural diversity and unity (e pluribus unum).


Students understand culture as dynamic, selective, adaptive, and ever changing.

Grades 4 - 5:

• Give examples and explain how change in culture and cultural elements can facilitate or disrupt understanding, and analyze different ways of handling cultural differences within and across groups.

Grades 6 - 8:

• Use examples of changing culture, particularly American culture, to identify and analyze ways to respond to cultural differences and problems within and across groups, e.g., stereotyping, ethics.

Grades 9 - 12:

• Evaluate the impact of culture, particularly changing culture on individuals, groups, and issues in America and demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between culture, cultural change, and social conditions.

Students use the tools and methodology of social scientists to explain and interpret ideas and events.

Grades 4 - 5:

• Use the tools and methods of anthropologists to compare, analyze, and interpret patterns of behavior to make informed decisions and solutions.

Grades 6 - 8:

• Use tools, theories, and methods of anthropologists to examine persistent current issues and social problems and use the data to analyze personal and collective decisions.

Grades 9 - 12:

• Use the research tools, procedures, and skills of anthropologists to develop informed positions on issues.




Addressing the
Content Standards:


Cultural Anthropology




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