Pop-Up Family Structures

I’m finding that my students do better when they have a good balance of “hands-on” activities mixed with technology. So, in this feature you will find my version of a “pop-up” style activity that revolves around the family structures. Students work in small groups to complete a “pop-up” of their assigned family structure, incorporating additional information. The “pop-ups” are then displayed and students participate in a gallery walk to learn more about each of the unique family structures.


  • After viewing the “Family Definition Videos” found HERE, we talk a little about how the family is made up of a variety of structures or types. It’s important to discuss that all families are unique and special and that there is no one family type that is better than another.


  • Card Stock
  • Tape, glue, yarn, felt/fabric scraps, markers, scissors, etc.
  • iPads or Electronic Devices (with cameras)
  • Textbooks (optional)


  • First decide how many family structures you wish to have students research (mine was determined by my class size).  My students used:  nuclear, step/blended, single parent, extended, foster, guardian and adoption.
  • Students had to use the internet and some class resources of sample textbooks to look up the required information. The required information included:  Definition/description of the family type, two advantages of living in the family type, two disadvantages of living in the family type, and current statistics about the family via the US Census.
  • Students then created their paper doll chain family to represent their assigned structure and used the structure as their title.  Students could add or remove “paper dolls” to create their family type.The templates for this need to be printed on card stock as regular copy paper is too flimsy and will not stand.
  • Once the “pop-ups” are securely constructed, they are set up for a gallery walk. Students work through adding their notes and photo of each structure.  I have my students do their notes digitally on their iPads.  However, if you aren’t 1:1, you could just have students hand write their notes and sketch the family structures.
  • After students have had a chance to look at all of the notes on each structure and we’ve discussed, I conclude by having them apply this to their own life by answering a short writing prompt.  The prompt is assigned in Google Classroom as a question and states:  What family structure represents your family? How do you know?
    Write a solid paragraph (minimum) explaining the family structure your family represents. Provide evidence from the description and from your own family to support your response.


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