In this chapter students learned about what sociology is and how it is different from the other social sciences. You also read about the contributions of the major pioneers in the field of sociology as well as the development of sociology in the United States. One thing that captures the attention of sociologists is social structure—the patterned interaction of people in social relationships. As children enter adolescence, their groups of friends—their peers—play an increasingly important role in their lives. Our peer groups exert considerable influence on our behavior—and that influence can be both positive and negative. In this activity, students will take a closer look at the role of peer groups for adolescents.
Students will visit the Oberlin College Web site to read an article about teens and peer groups. After answering several questions about the role of peer groups, students will write a reflective essay about examples of peer groups that they have either witnessed or experienced.
- Students will be able to explain why the peer group increases in importance as children enter adolescence.
- Students will be able to identify purposes of the peer group.
- Students will be able to list two examples of peer groups they witness in their environment.
Student Web Activity Answers
- A peer group is a small group of similarly aged, fairly close friends, sharing the same activities.
- The peer group is a prototype for adult relationships in social, work, and intimate relationships. Teens need the support of their peers to meet society’s demands for social independence.
- The factors that contribute to the formation of peer groups are their close ties with their peers through autonomy, cognitive changes, and a greater need for intimacy.
- Two peer groups are cliques and crowds. Cliques are small groups of between two and twelve individuals based on friendships or common activities. Crowds are larger groups based on reputation that may or may not spend time together.
- Students' essays will vary.
Go To Student Web Activity