Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan: What is Discrimination?

February 5, 2016

Full Lesson


This lesson is designed for middle and high school students who have difficulty with verbal and written expression.


Social studies, government, English

Estimated Time

One 45-minute class

Grade Level

This lesson is designed for middle and high school students with intellectual disabilities.  It is designed specifically for students who have difficulty with verbal and written expression.

Warm Up Activity

  1. The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
      • Ask the students what they think the word discrimination means and write their answer up on the board.
      • Read the Dr. Seuss story “The Sneetches” to your students.
      • Ask students which character was discriminated against in the book, and most often in the real world. Write their answers on the board.
      • Ask students if they can think of a time that they were discriminated against or witnessed discrimination and ask them to share, if they are comfortable.
      • You may also wish to view the video version here, however, it’s on the long side; so think if your students would be into it or perhaps show just part of it:

  2. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement video
    • Now have students watch the following video about Martin Luther King, Jr. Ask students what they think the term civil rights means. You might also want to include the terms equality or equal rights in your discussion.
    • Ask students to think of some examples of discrimination that Dr. King and African-Americans have faced which led to the rise of the Civil Rights Movement.
    • Ask students if they can think of more examples of a person or a group of people who have stood up for civil rights.

Main Activity

  1. Fair or Unfair?
    • Put the definition of “discrimination” on the board (you can use the PowerPoint or the worksheet or both).
    • Have students cut the sheet with “FAIR” and “UNFAIR” in half. Then glue each side to a popsicle stick so they have their own sign to show their answer in response to the pictures about discrimination, see below.
  2. Use the PowerPoint (or paper copies) to:
    • Describe and discuss what is going on in the picture.
    • Ask students to decide whether it is “FAIR” or “UNFAIR” using their sign to show their answer.

By Katie Gould, Teacher Resource Producer for NewsHour Classroom

Media literacy education

What is media literacy?

Media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate and create all types of media, including news media.

All of NewsHour Classroom's resources contain lessons in media literacy, including questions like who produced the piece and what do you know about them?

Start by evaluating this video introducing NewsHour Classroom here.