Finding Our Bonds (4th Grade)

3, 4, 5

Using a simulation and literature book, students will explore discrimination, prejudice and stereotypes. They will explore the importance of respect for diversity and their role in promoting a civil society focused on justice and equality.

Lesson Rating 
One Fifty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • experience a simulation of discrimination.
  • analyze the actions of characters in literature.
  • understand respect for diversity as important to the common good.
  • explore their role in a promoting respect in a civil society.
  • The Other Side by Jacqeline Woodson (See Bibliographical References)
  • One rope or string, that extends from one side of the room to another
  • Woodson, Jacqueline.  The Other Side.  New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2001.  ISBN: 0-399-23116-1.


  1. Anticipatory Set:
    Before students arrive, divide the room in half by arranging the desks in two groups. Make sure that each side is accessible by different pathways. Attach the rope or string from one side to the other to create a dividing line. As the children arrive, direct them to seats according to the color of their shoes, black, brown or dark colors on one side, white or light colors on the other. Have the words prejudice, discrimination, stereotypes on the chalkboard, and these instructions, “Using the dictionaries and paper in our classroom, write a short definition for each word.” Make sure that the dictionaries are on one side of the dividing line and the paper is on the opposite side of the dividing line. Tell the students they must use the class's materials and not their own.

    Teacher will say, “Attention please, from this moment on, no one can cross this dividing line nor are you under any circumstances to speak to anyone on the other side of the dividing line. Follow the instructions on the board and complete the assignment quickly.” The groups will soon realize that they cannot complete the task without communicating and soliciting the help of the opposite group. Initiate discussion, by asking; what is the dilemma that you all face?

  2. Hold a class discussion to decide on a definition of discrimination, stereotypes and the prejudice. Ask the students to think about how the simulation might have been an example of these. Ask the students to express their opinion about the effects of these on a community. Do they strengthen or weaken the community?

  3. Discuss the importance of showing respect for others, and promoting for the justice and equality for all enhances the common good.

  4. Read aloud the story, The Other Side. (It is a story of a friendship that develops across a racial barrier. The narrator is an African-American child who lives beside a fence that separates (segregates) her town. She is told not to climb over the fence because it isn’t safe. One day she sees a white girl on the other side. Both girls are curious about each other and eventually they both come to the fence and introduce themselves. The girls solve the problem of being told “not to cross” the fence by sitting on top of the fence.)

  5. Discuss the book:

    • Which characters demonstrated prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping?
    • Which characters demonstrated respect and acceptance of diversity?
    • What do you think the last page of the book really means for the future? Who do you think can help “knock this old fence down”?
  6. Use the think, pair, share method to have students respond to the question, "What can you do to actively promote respect in our society?" (Students think for a couple minutes, pair up with another student to discuss, and then volunteer to share with the whole class.)

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify ways that trust is important in all communities.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss the importance of respect for others.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Identify the similarities in philanthropic behavior among people of different cultural backgrounds.
      3. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.9 Describe how philanthropic activities can bring about social change.

Academic Standards

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