It is not essential, but it would be helpful if students were familiar with the historical context in which Jane Elliott first conducted the blue eyes/brown eyes exercise. Depending on your students' prior knowledge, this could take a few minutes or an entire class period.
- Review the events surrounding the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. What were the key political divisions and issues in the U.S. in 1968? What were the central demands and divisions of the civil rights movement? What role did Martin Luther King Jr. play?
- Compare census reports from 1970 and 2000. What changes have occurred in the racial make-up of your community, your state, and the United States? (Note: Census information is available at http://www.census.gov.)
Students should also be familiar with the dictionary definitions of the terms below. Discussions or debates about these definitions can be conducted after viewing.
* Read alternative definitions and discussion prompts for these words.