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Serious Structure

What makes up the world around us? Exploring the things we can and cannot see will make our world make a little more sense. Let's check out the systems that work around us- these systems are part visible and part invisible.

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  • What do you think fairness means? 
  • What is an institution? 
  • Are there any structures you have been to or involved in? 
  • How can social structures be improved? 


  • Take a blank piece of paper. Have someone read out the definition of 'social institutions'.  
    • Social institutions definition: social institutions are groups of people who come together for a goal or for a certain reason, like the education system or even your family! 
    • The different social institutions in the world help make society run smoothly – if society was a car, social institutions would be things like the wheels, brakes or engine that work together to make the car run. 
    • Some examples include: the political system, justice system (police, courts, etc), educational system (school, daycares, after school programs, etc), family, or religion. Each of these systems do something different to help society – which ones are you a part of? 
  • You will then write down different institutions that you know or have been part of 
  • Remember, these systems are big, for example a social institution is education.  
  • You can talk about your experiences in school, or in daycare, or at an afterschool program. All of these different parts are a part of the education system, which is one big social institution.  
  • You will look back on the parts that you liked about your experience, as well as some challenges you may have faced!  


  • What are some things you didn't realized were institutions? 
  • How are institutions good? How do they benefit you? 
  • What are some ways that institutions could be improved? 
  • Why are institutions important to have? 
  • Remember to submit your activities on our Scouts for Sustainability Take Action Map

Keep it Simple

  • To keep it simple, start off by talking about an institution that you are all a part of in some way: education. How are you part of education? What is your role? 

Take it Further

  • Discuss more institutions such as health care, energy, postal services, and identify the strengths and weaknesses to expand on this activity. Talk about whether Scouts Canada is an institution, and why or why not.