Understanding Discrimination
  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.7 Identify and give examples of an individual's reserved power to act.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.
      2. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.

In this lesson, youth become aware and gain empathy for the discrimination people experience because of their race, age, gender, and other reasons. The group discusses ways to be inclusive. A Mix it Up Day changes our familiar boundaries and helps us connect to new people.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

Describe what inclusion looks like with regard to cultures, gender, and ability status


art supplies for each participant

Home Connection: 

Youth can involve their families in identifying ways to be more inclusive in their personal lives.


Learning for Justice - Mix it Up! https://www.learningforjustice.org/mix-it-up

  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Invite youth to share about a time they felt left out. What happened? How did they feel? What did they do next? Discuss as a group what feelings are attached to being excluded. 

  2. Discussion: Feeling left out, or excluded, is not a feeling that anyone enjoys. The opposite of exclusion is inclusion, making all people feel welcomed and valued. Thinking back to the feelings they attach to being left out, discuss what feelings go along with being included. 

  3. Often, people miss out on opportunity or fair treatment because they are seen as different, maybe because of their race, culture, language, a disability, gender, or even age. There is a word for the unfair treatment these people get: discrimination. Provide some real life examples and invite the young people to add their own. 

  4. Show the TEDxYouth video, “Understanding Discrimination.” Talk about times the young people felt discriminated against - or not included - because they are young. How did the situation make them feel? Ask them to describe activities they feel they are capable of doing as youth or times they feel their opinions should be heard.

  5. Sometimes, when exclusion has happened for a long time, being inclusive takes effort and planning. Ask the youth what steps they can take to be more inclusive to people around them.

  6. Ask each learner to draw a picture of an inclusive setting (a classroom, a playground, etc). Discuss what makes the scene feel inclusive.

  7. Giving back to the community: Have the group plan a Mix It Up day or event where people cross familiar boundaries and connect with someone new. For information about the Mix It Up campaign, visit Learning for Justice - Mix it Up!


There are many reasons and situations that lead to people being excluded, or discriminated against. What mindset or actions can help you be more inclusive? Who is someone in your group, school or community that you can get to know better? What will you do?