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Busting Stereotypes

Lesson Title: Busting Stereotypes
Topic(s)- Fairness
Grade Level(s): 5
Introduction: This lesson seeks to introduce students to ideas of bias and judgment
by using an intersectional lens to examine stereotypes. Questions that students
should ask and answer may be- What is a stereotype, and why are they hurtful?
What stereotypes do I see in my community or on TV? What stereotypes have I
used? What stereotypes might people have about me? How can I move past using
stereotypes?
Lesson Objectives:
Students will: (examples)
 Examine stereotypes as a form of injustice in American Society
 Analyze stereotypes they see in their communities, media, and themselves
 Discuss why stereotypes are harmful, and how to move past using them.
Teacher Background: The teacher should be familiar with what a stereotype is “a
widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person
or thing.” The teacher should be familiar with how stereotypes affect different
groups and why they can be harmful.
Activities:
Intro: The teacher will ask the students a name about 8 different cliques in the
school. Examples might be “Jocks” or “Goths”. Number students off and assign them
a group. Give them about 30 seconds to 1 minute to write down traits for that group.
Have students switch and repeat until everyone has had a chance to do every group.
Main: Have students stop at the last station. Give them a minute to circle some
words that are repeated a lot or, really stood out. Write town each group on the
board and give each group an opportunity to share the words they circled. Write
them on the board.
Ask students if these words apply to EVERYONE in that group. Obviously not
because people are individuals. Also, ask if students know people who don’t fit these
descriptions but may be in these groups. Ask them to define a stereotype.
Discussion: What are some examples of groups that may be stereotyped EX may
include “gay people”, “black people”, “people with disabilities” etc. Have students list
some stereotypes that these groups have. Why are these hurtful? Is it hard to move
past stereotypes used against you?

Homework: Have students go home and watch any tv show they would normally
watch. Tell them to look for stereotypes that appear in that show and write them
down. Tell them to then write 4 paragraphs. One paragraph about why stereotypes
are damaging and unfair, one about stereotypes they have about other groups, one
about stereotypes people other people may have against them, and one about what
they will do to be more fair and stop using stereotypes.
Documents used in the lesson: (Links to documents and worksheets)
Extension activities:
Sources and suggestions for additional readings:
http://www.discoveryeducation.com/teachers/free-lesson-
plans/understanding-stereotypes.cfm

Author Information: Matthew Klein is an Education Intern at Our Family
Coalition in San Francisco. He is currently working towards a Bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama.
Standards: CCSS 3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions
(one-on- one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade topics and
texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own
clearly.