First Impressions

6, 7, 8

The purpose of this lesson is for learners to evaluate what first impressions of people they form and to deliberately be more open to treating people respectfully.

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • analyze the value and damage of first impressions. 


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask the learners to explain what a first impression is. Tell them that in the face of danger, our first impressions can be helpful. It is life-saving when our first impression of a threatening bear sends a danger signal to our brain to be afraid. In a social situation, a first impression can be harmful because we judge from an outward appearance, which can be wrong. 

  2. Ask the learners to imagine they are in a social situation and a person they have never met walks up to them and starts a conversation. Have them think about how they will decide if this is someone they want to talk to and get to know, or if it is not someone they want to talk to or get to know. Have them reflect on what criteria they would use to make this decision. 

  3. Quick judgments based on assumptions and little information are called stereotypes and prejudice. We each have a learned bias toward people with certain traits, which makes us show disrespect for people with certain other traits. 

    Ask for ideas for how we counter-act bias and this tendency to trust damaging first impressions.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Give an example of how philanthropy can transcend cultures.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify and give examples of stewardship in cultural traditions around the world.