Procedure - Family Tree Assignment
Once the vocabulary has been established, you should go into further detail about family trees.
For younger students, you might want to begin by reading a book, such as The Kids' Family Tree Book, by Caroline Leavitt.
For older students, the discussion can begin by filling out a family tree together as a class. Draw an outline of a family tree on the chalkboard or wipe-off board and demonstrate to the students how to fill in the lines with knowledge they possess about their families. For example, as you fill in each line, you might say, "This line should have your name on it." or "This line should have your mother's name on it." or "This line should have your mother's mother's name on it." You may want to use your own family in this example and explain to the children how each person on the family tree is related to you.
After discussing how a family tree diagram is completed, it is time to give the students a chance to fill one out for their own family line.
Give each student a family tree diagram to complete. Click here for Ancestor charts courtesy of Rootsweb.com that you can print or students can use a ruler and a large sheet of paper to build their own. Younger students should use a simple tree structure which includes only the names of extended family members, while older students should include information such as birth dates, wedding dates, and death dates. These diagrams should be similar to the links provided here.
Remember to emphasize that genealogy is about biological relationships and that step-parents and step-siblings should not be included. Some students may have difficulties completing their family tree diagrams due to complicated family relationships. Be sure to handle this with sensitivity, or let them enter those people marked as "steps." This assignment should be graded according to the students' willingness to participate in the assignment, not by the number of lines filled.