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Analyze Perceptions and Stereotypes

Invite students to share their ideas with the class. Challenge them to explain how they can use this lesson to improve their interactions with others.

PROCESS:

  1. Prior to conducting this activity, gather a wide variety of magazines containing photos of people. You will also need scissors and sticky notes.
  2. Provide access to the magazines and scissors. Encourage the class to find and cut out photos of people, labeling them as indicated in the customized lesson section below.
  3. Invite students to share their photos with the class. Challenge them to explain why they categorized people as they did. Compare and contrast students' perceptions of each trait.
  4. If any images depict famous people, investigate to determine whether or not students' prior knowledge caused that person to be categorized in a positive or negative way. Guide students to recognize that this is a normal reaction. It happens in real life as well as in the books they read and the movies they see.
  5. As a class, discuss how perceptions and stereotypes impact the way people interact with one another. Then have students evaluate their selections and write about what they learned.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their ideas with the class. Challenge them to explain how they can use this lesson to improve their interactions with others.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Identify specific categories such as pretty, smart, strong, weak, old, honest, bad, successful, etc. Complete the activity as a class. After discussing the photos, divide the class into small groups. Give each group several sticky notes. Challenge students to write what they consider to be one consequence of judging a person too quickly on each sticky note.

Grades 5-6:
Identify specific categories such as pretty, smart, strong, weak, old, honest, bad, successful, etc. Complete the activity as a class. After discussing the photos, assign each student a partner. Give each pair three sticky notes. Challenge partners to write what they consider to be one consequence of judging a person too quickly on each sticky note.

Grades 7-8:
Assign each student a partner. As they cut out photos, instruct students to label each photo with an adjective that appropriately describes the person in the image. Invite partners to share their photos. Discuss perceptions and stereotypes as a class. Then give each pair one sticky note. Challenge partners to write what they consider to be the biggest consequence of judging a person too quickly on their note. Invite partners to share their ideas with the class.

Grades 9-10:
Instruct each student to cut out five photos of people. Tell them to label each photo with an adjective that appropriately describes the person in the image. Invite students to share their photos. Discuss perceptions and stereotypes as a class. Display three sticky notes. As a class, identify the consequences of judging a person too quickly. Narrow the list down to the three worst results. Invite volunteers to write one example on each sticky note.