You've Got to Be Taught to Hate and Fear

6, 7, 8

This lesson will focus learners' attention on the need to recognize and prevent (or find solutions to) prejudice based on cultural, ethnic, racial, gender, economic, age, social, ability or religious differences.

Lesson Rating 
PrintThree Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify themes of prejudice and acceptance in songs and a story.
  • define prejudice and give an example of prejudice in a newspaper or magazine.
  • list causes of prejudice and describe ways to prevent or counteract prejudice.
  • represent acceptance in pictorial contexts.
  • Song and student copies of the lyrics to “You've Got to be Carefully Taught” from South Pacific, “Free to Be” by Bruce Cockburn, and “I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing”
  • The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
  • Handmade journals of eight or more pages for the students
  • Large section of bulletin board paper for the collage
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: Students should be encouraged to request parent assistance/participation in selecting articles and pictures in order to satisfy the homework requirements.

  • Cockburn, Bruce. Circles in the Stream . Golden Mountain Music Corp. Compact Disk. ASIN: B000006X4L. ( Free to Be )


  • Kid Songs ( music and lyrics for I'd like to Teach the World to Sing )


  • Rogers and Hammerstein. South Pacific (Original 1949 Broadway Cast) . Sony. Audio CD. ASIN: B00000DHSL (You've got to Be Carefully Taught )


  • Seuss, Dr. Sneetches and Other Stories (The) . New York: Random House, 1989. ISBN: 394800893


  1. Day One:Anticipatory Set:Play or sing the song “You've Got to be Carefully Taught” from South Pacific .


  2. Distribute student journals and copies of the lyrics to “You've Got to be Carefully Taught”. Give each student five minutes to write a response to the song in the journal, labeling it Day One Song Response . Tell the learners to include in their response answers to the following questions:

    • What was the song about?

    • How did the song make you feel?

    • What is the message or theme of the song?

  3. (Teacher Note: Replay the song if requested.)

  4. Have the students sit around you on the floor while you read The Sneetches aloud to them. Give the students an additional five minutes at their seats to write a journal response to the story, labeling it Day One Story Response . They should answer the same questions as they did for the song.

  5. Bring the students back to the floor circle with their journals to share what they have written about the song and/or the story.

  6. Assign the homework: Each student must find an article from a newspaper or magazine or the Internet (ie. which reflects similar ideas to the song or story from today's lesson. The student will bring the article to school the next day, along with a written summary of the article and an explanation of the way in which it is similar to the song or story.

  7. Day Two: Anticipatory Set:Play or sing Bruce Cockburn's song “Free to Be.”

  8. Distribute the lyrics to the song. Give each student five minutes to write a response to the song in the journal, labeling it Day Two Song Response . They should answer the same questions as for the previous responses, including the message or theme. In addition, they should explain any similarities or differences to yesterday's song.

  9. Divide the students into groups of three or four and have them share with each other the homework article they brought in and their summary/explanation. Each group should choose one of these to share with the class, the one they think best reflects the messages from the songs and story. Give them fifteen minutes for this activity.

  10. Have one student from each group present the chosen article to the rest of the class.

  11. Lead a class discussion of the similarities among the articles, writing key words on the board, making sure the word prejudice is included.

  12. Have the students individually write their own definition of the word prejudice in their journal.

  13. Assign homework: Each student must locate or create a picture that shows the opposite of prejudice to bring to class the next day.

  14. Day Three:Anticipatory Set:Play or sing the song “I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing.”

  15. Distribute the lyrics to the song and give the students five minutes to write a response in their journal, labeling it Day Three Song Response . Remind them to include the message or theme they see in the song, as well as similarities or differences to the other songs.

  16. Divide the students into groups of three or four. Have them select a recorder. The students should share the definitions of prejudice written in their journals the previous day and choose the one they think is best or create a new one together. The recorder will write this definition at the top of a piece of paper to turn in later.

  17. The students should discuss the causes of prejudice (reasons for prejudice) as seen in the songs, story and articles they have read/heard. They should also discuss ways they think prejudice could be prevented or overcome. The recorder will then make a chart based on these ideas, written on the same piece of paper as the definition of prejudice . The chart should contain two columns, one for causes of prejudice and the other for preventions/solutions. Each column should have at least five items. The name of each group member should be written at the top before the paper is turned in to the teacher.

  18. As each group finishes, the students should also turn in their journals to the teacher. Then they may put their homework picture or drawing on the collage paper to make a class collage of acceptance.

  19. Put the class collage on the bulletin board or wall. Ask the students to continue drawing and bringing in pictures throughout the unit to add to the collage.


This lesson can be assessed for a total of 100 points in the following manner:

Journal entries:

Day One Song Response 10

Day One Story Response 10

Day Two Song Response 10

Prejudice Definition 10

Day Three Song Response 10

Group work:

Prejudice Definition 10

Prejudice Chart 20


Day One Assignment/Article 10

Day Two Assignment/Picture/Drawing 10

Cross Curriculum 

None for this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify how families contribute to the socialization of children.
  2. 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.