In the MIx Quiz Scrapbook Program Episodes Teachers
Classroom Activities Resources
Dealing with Differences Activities

Improve students' understanding of differences among individuals and groups.

E-mail Pen-Pal Activities
"Living with Change" Activity
"Media Literacy" Activities
"Difference" and Discrimination "Dealing With Differences" Activities

  • Students will explore definitions and generate examples of the terms stereotype, prejudice/bias, and discrimination.
  • Students will broaden their understanding and develop appreciation of differences among individuals and groups.
  • Students will develop skills for communication, cooperation, and consensus by working with partners or groups.
In this activity, students explore the meanings of the terms stereotype, prejudice/bias, and discrimination. To begin, have students take the NEW NORMAL quiz, in which they will guess about the experiences, preferences, opinions, and styles of the four teenagers featured on the site. (If it is not feasible for students to take the quiz, print out photos of the students or of a diverse group of young people and ask students to make predictions about what each person is like.) Next, elicit that the students were working from very superficial information available in the photographs and that the predictions they made were based on assumptions and generalizations that constitute a kind of labeling or stereotyping (for example, "I know smart people who look like her, so she must be smart.").

Next, ask students to work in pairs or small groups to develop definitions of the following terms: stereotype, prejudice/bias, and discrimination. (You could assign all pairs/groups all three terms or have each pair/group work on one term.) Students can use the dictionary and also visit Web sites like and to develop their definitions.

Pairs/groups can present their definitions. The class can then use these to develop definitions that the entire class can agree on. Relate these to the aftermath of September 11th, asking: "What kinds of stereotypes, biases, and discrimination do you think were most in evidence following September 11?"

Students can then join with their partners or in small groups to develop and record examples of stereotypes, prejudices/biases, and discrimination. Follow up with discussion.

Related Web sites:
Arab American Institute
The Arab American Institute site offers information about bias acts in the wake of September 11th, as well as related educational resources.

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
This area of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Web site contains advice to educators.

Use this film and the wealth of resources available at the companion Web site to expand students' knowledge of Islam.

This film explores what life is like in Jerusalem today through the eyes of seven Israeli and Palestinian children. Explore the site's lesson plans and related classroom resources.

Paired Interviews

  • Students will examine cultural commonalities and differences by interviewing each other.
  • Students will broaden their understanding and develop appreciation of diverse cultures, customs, and styles.
In this activity, students learn more about themselves, their classmates, and diversity by interviewing each other. The interviews may include questions such as:

1) Name a group or a place that you associate with your culture.

2) Share something about your culture that you like a lot.

3) Discuss one of your favorite holidays or traditional celebrations.

4) Share one thing you would like people to know about your culture.

5) Share one thing you don't want to hear people say about your culture.

Before the interviews take place, you might wish to discuss the concept of culture. (You may have the students explore the scrapbooks of the teens on the NEW NORMAL site -- Oliver, Phil, Christina, and Roksana -- as a way of approaching the topic of culture.)

Most often, culture is linked to nationality, ethnicity, or race. However, culture is associated with all the groups to which each of us belongs. For instance, an individual could be of Italian ancestry, a native Texan, a resident of a suburban neighborhood, white, female, a teenager, a high school student, and a member of the marching band, and each of these designations has cultural connotations. For the purposes of the interview, each student should think about what aspect of his or her culture to talk about.

You might model this activity first by having a student interview you while the class observes.

After the activity, ask students what they learned and what the experience of doing the interviews was like. General questions to encourage discussion include:
  • What do you see as the value of this activity?
  • How was "culture" viewed by you and the person or people you interviewed?
  • Without breaking confidentiality, did you learn anything that surprised you?
  • Did this activity prompt you to see anything or anyone in a different way?
  • Did this activity prompt you to see yourself and your culture in a different way?
Note: Confidentiality should be respected. No student should divulge details of another's responses without permission. Remind students of this before the pair/group discussions, and encourage them to be clear about what they wish to remain confidential and what they would not mind sharing with the class.

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