Culture at TMSE – Week 1! By Madeline Anscombe

In our first class at TMSE, we met our twenty new anthropologists and divided into

clans. Over the course of the year, we will be using Indonesia as a model for our

lessons. In order to explain the clans, we used the model of the Javanese, whom

inhabit the largest island of Indonesia.


Once separated, we started our lesson on culture as well as a general overview of

the four kinds of anthropology. To remember this we used the acronym CLAP,

standing for cultural, linguistics, archaeology and physical. When we covered

cultural, the students had already learned a significant amount about what

constitutes a culture. Their answers ranged from more textbook definitions to more

comprehensive ones such as an acronym they had learned called the “Five F’s”

which included food, faith, family, finances and fashion. They were able to grasp the

concept of clans fairly easily as well and were excited to start the activity.

In our clans, we first came up with our names—the Fire Phoenix, American Cheese, and the

Mighty Animal Dinosaurs (we couldn’t decide if animals or dinosaurs were cooler so

we went with both).

A proud founding member of American Cheese

Other items on the worksheet included coming up with a

common ancestor and creating a rite of passage or a handshake. The students used

puffy paint and pom-poms to decorate individual pieces of felt which were

transformed into flags for their clans. Collectively, it was a great first day at TMSE. A

student even shared that she had always wanted to take another class but was super

excited that she ended up in Anthropology. I think we can look forward to a great

semester with our third graders this spring!

Fire Phoenix Flag!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *