6, 7, 8

Through an activity with differently wrapped gifts, students examine the meaning of stereotype and prejudice. They discuss the importance of respecting diverse voices to avoid stereotyping and prejudice.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • define stereotype, discrimination, and prejudice.
  • describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respect their right to be heard.
  • several small gift packages wrapped in varying styles of wrap that do not represent the gift inside (e.g., pretty package with aundesirable prize or a plain, large box with something small and desirable)
  • bag containing student names on slips of paper (or other way to select random “winners”)
  • Handouts are for teacher reference.
Teacher Preparation 

In advance of the activity, prepare a special package for each child in your group. Half of the packages should look appealing (i.e. be wrapped with bows and nice paper). The other half should be wrapped in brown bags without any color or bows. Both types of packages should contain either a desirable item (stickers, small toys, or healthy snacks) or an undesirable item (rocks, dog biscuits, paperclips, etc.). Set the prepared packages on a table where everyone can see them.

  • stereotype: an oversimplified opinion formed by associating people with a group; an idea that many people have about a thing or group and that may often be untrue or only partly true
  • prejudice: a judgment formed about a person or group without enough knowledge
  • discrimination: action or treatment based on prejudice, or a preconceived opinion


What are prejudice, stereotype, and discrimination and how do we avoid them?


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    With the prepared gifts visible on a table, hold a discussion about gifts they have given or received in the past. Ask about a time they were (or someone they know was) surprised, disappointed, or knew what they were getting. Tell students that they each may choose from the gifts in front of them when their names are called.

  2. Tell students that you have presents for all of them. Give them a minute to observe the different packages and guess what could be in them and which ones seem most desirable. Pull a random name out of a bag and let the chosen student choose one package from the table. That student must then guess what might be in the package and tell the group why he or she chose it. Select another random name from the bag and repeat this process until all of the packages are distributed. Allow students to open the packages one by one and react to what is inside them.

  3. Ask:

    1. What did you look for when choosing a package? Why? (appealing color, wrapping)
    2. Does the outside of the package reflect what is inside? Why or why not?
    3. Did you change your ideas about what makes a good package as people opened their packages up? Why?
    4. How are people we don’t know like packages?
    5. What do we look at when we meet a new person that helps us judge them before we see what is inside? Explain that this is an example of stereotyping. Stereotyping involves making broad generalizations or oversimplified statements about others based on very little information. For example, we may look at a picture of a man in a suit and assume that he is a wealthy businessman. When people treat others differently based on their assumptions, stereotyping becomes harmful and creates prejudice or discrimination.
  4. Ask students to describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard. Discuss, How does this help overcome prejudice or a stereotype?

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. 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.