High School

Introduction to Anthropology

1.0 Credit
36 weeks
student studying at home and smiling at camera

“Anthropology demands the open-mindedness with which one must look and listen, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess” (Margaret Mead).

Anthropology aims to use a broad approach to gain an understanding of our past, present, and future and address the problems humans face in biological, social, and cultural life. This course will explore the evolution, similarity, and diversity of humankind through time. It will look at how we have evolved from a biologically and culturally weak species to one that can cause catastrophic change. Exciting online video journeys to different areas of the world will also be presented in the course.

Major Topics and Concepts

  • Describe anthropology, and explain why it is holistic.
  • Define culture, and explain how anthropologists learn about other cultures.
  • State why anthropology is a science and how it differs from other social sciences.
  • Explain why anthropology is important, especially in today’s world.
  • Describe some careers in anthropology and the value of anthropology training.
  • Define culture, and list cultural universals.
  • Give examples of material, social, and ideological culture.
  • Explain why art is an important part of culture.
  • Identify ways that people acquire culture.
  • List traits of human language.
  • Outline the origin of human language.
  • Describe modern human languages.
  • State how language influences thought.
  • State how and why evolution occurs.
  • Identify different types of evidence for evolution.
  • Outline the events of early primate evolution.
  • Describe the Australopithecines and their role in human evolution.
  • Identify early species of Homo, including their traits and distribution.
  • Describe where and when Homo sapiens evolved.
  • Identify the Neanderthals and what may have happened to them.
  • Describe how humans are classified in the animal kingdom, and name our closest living relatives.
  • Identify biological traits that define the human species, and explain how they are related to culture.
  • Describe ways that humans vary, and explain why racial classifications are not useful.
  • Describe the cuisines of different cultures.
  • Identify cultural differences in eating habits.
  • Contrast four basic types of subsistence strategy.
  • Explain how subsistence strategy influences other aspects of culture.
  • Describe social purposes served by food.
  • Define archeology and the archeological record.
  • Identify the types of material remains that people leave behind.
  • Outline how archeologists find and excavate sites.
  • Explain how archeologists analyze and interpret what they discover.
  • Describe the earliest evidence of a culture that was left behind by human ancestors.
  • State when and how agriculture first developed.
  • Describe other changes that agriculture brought.
  • Identify types of marriage rules and forms of marriage.
  • Explain how residence patterns are related to household makeup.
  • Describe different ways to trace relationships and name kin.
  • Explain the importance of social groups and how social behavior is controlled.
  • Compare and contrast different types of human societies.
  • Religious myths and supernatural beings
  • Various cultural and religious practices (rituals, rites of passage, magic, sorcery, divination)
  • Moral codes


What is Anthropology?

Students will demonstrate an understanding of anthropology by examining and explaining what an anthropologist does and the variety of subfields of anthropology.

Theory of Human Evolution

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the theory of human evolution by explaining the theory of evolution, the evolution process and describing the traits of our current species known as Homo Sapiens.

Looking at Culture in Societies

Students will demonstrate an understanding of a variety of societies studied by anthropologists by examining the defining characteristics of a variety of societies, such as hunter-gathers, nomads, pastorals, urban societies, industrial societies, and post-industrial societies.

Language, Environment and Culture

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between language, environment, and culture by comparing cultural similarities in language and describing ways the environment can affect culture.


Students will demonstrate an understanding of the process of archaeology by explaining the purpose of an archaeological record, the steps to discovering archaeological records at sites, and the variety of techniques used to analyze archaeological records.

Religion and Family in Culture

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the role of religion and family in culture by explaining the similarities and differences of a variety of religions and family practices in various cultures.


Students will demonstrate an understanding of how people are formed through enculturation by explaining how family, mainstream media and history have affected culture throughout the years.

Cultures in Modern Societies

Students will demonstrate an understanding of how cultures change as the world develops by explaining the role that genocide, human rights, and democracy played in developing today’s world.