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We Are Family

You don’t have to be a genealogist to make a family tree. In fact, teachers are using in-class family tree activities to provide children with a sense of identity, to provoke thought, to share a sense of our histories, and encourage stronger family and community relationships.

We took a look at how Popplet is being put to work by budding genealogists in classrooms everywhere, and as always, we learned something too!

Zane – Three Generations of a Family

If there are still people who do not yet know what a family tree is, or if you would just like a refresher course then this short video produced by Zane, a pupil at Dysart Elementary School is for you. In just five minutes, this young enthusiast shows how to create a visual representation of three generations of a family.

Here’s how Zane did it:

  • Start off by double clicking to create separate popples: one for each brother and sister
  • Add their names and connect the popples
  • Double-click again to make popples for each parent and add their names
  • Use lines to connect the parents, then use lines to connect the parents to their children
  • Create popples for each parent’s brothers and sisters and then use lines to connect them vertically
  • Create popples for each parent’s mother and father (Zane’s grandparents in the video)
  • End by using lines to connect the grandparents to their children.

“That is how you make a Three Generation Family Tree Popplet” says Zane!

Thanks Zane!

Who’s Who In The German English Classroom

Popplet German Family Tree
The above family tree created by the University of Jena, Germany as part of a Wiki that has a number of great ideas on how Popplet can be used in the classroom. Designed for 5th and 6th graders who are learning English, the Family Tree activity is a great way to get students to interact and practice new vocabulary and grammar points, family and possession in the lesson plan e.g, “Marta is my mother’s mother-in-law”. Here we see colors employed to represent different sides of the family – mother’s relatives have red colored popplets and father’s green making it crystal clear who is who. A very good example of how this activity can be adapted and focussed on different learning areas.

Libby’s Family Medical History Tree


This elegant Family Tree was created by Libby – who might still be an unknown quantity if it wasn’t for the wealth of information provided in this concisely constructed Popplet. Libby’s Family Tree shows how Popplet can be used to efficiently organize information, resulting in an easy-on-the-eye visual that’s not short on information:

  • Differently colored popples make for a neat division between the generations
  • Each generation is aligned horizontally
  • Additional Information regarding family members is clear and easily understood
  • An elegant presentation is maintained by simply enlarging the popples vertically when more information is added.

Adam’s Family Tree Popplet

No, we are not speaking of Morticia and Gomez, we mean Adam from Wyvern Year 3, New South Wales, Australia, whose class was tasked recently with building their family trees using Popplet. Fortunately for us, they have been thoughtful enough to post their results online. An obvious individual and group effort, most of the techniques they adopted to complete their mission have already been described. Almost without exception however, the lads are agreed on one feature the perfect family tree cannot be without – a great big photo – of themselves of course!

Adam's Family Tree Popplete

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Building Family Trees is a highly adaptable, much used classroom activity that helps give children a sense of identity and that can be focussed on many other areas of learning – it’s also a lot of fun. Here are some of the many benefits:

  • Leads to a deep well of subject matter: history, geography, socio-economic conditions, employment, relationships, language… The list of potential subjects that can be illuminated or explored immediately is endless
  • Provides students opportunities for meaningful interaction, not only with their peers, but across generations
  • Students practice research, but this kind of homework is fun for students, maybe even poignant as children seek to find details of the past lives of those they know best and others who they might never have met
  • With Popplet, the photographs of relatives can be uploaded providing opportunities to interact with different technologies
  • Text, even documents – Dad’s old school report for example – can be added as part of the final visual or as research notes
  • Family trees can be organized using different colors and sizes as well as links
  • Students can collaborate on Popplets – twins might find this especially useful!
  • Finally, family trees can be turned into JPEGs or PDFs and printed and shared with the class and with the whole family and who (let’s face it), just have to be interested!

Have you tried using Popplet to build a family tree? How did it go? Share your experiences with us, and our community on Twitter and on our Facebook page.