Recognizing Our Similarities and Differences

K, 1, 2

Students will listen to a story that illustrates that although we have differences, we are also very similar. They will begin to understand the definitions of diversity and realize that focusing on the differences alone may cause conflict.

PrintOne 45 minute class period or two shorter periods

The learner will:

  • identify and describe the behaviors of characters in a book.
  • explore fairness and justice through a literature book.
  • be introduced to the concept of diversity.
  • state one benefit of treating others with respect.
  • The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss (see Bibliographical References)
  • Drawing paper
  • Seuss, Dr.  The Sneetches.  New York: Random House, 1989.  ISBN:  0394800893.


  1. Anticipatory Set: Ask the students to look around the room and observe how they are different and how they are similar to each other. Now tell the students they are going to play a game. List about five characteristics such as, oldest child in the family, rode a bike to school today, ate cereal for breakfast, wearing blue jeans, etc., for the children to see. Ask students to stand based on the characteristics named. Each time the students sort him/herself, count the number of students in the groups and record the result by the appropriate characteristic.

  2. Generate discussion about whether these characteristics make them more important than the others in the class. Tell the students that even though they are different in some ways, they are also alike in many other ways. Brainstorm with the children those things appropriate to the group that they all have in common such as: all in kindergarten, all in the same classroom, all live in the same community. Tell the students that you are going to read a book in which thinking only about differences and forgetting about similarities causes problems for the community. Let’s see how they deal with differences in the book, The Sneetches (See Bibliographic Reference).

  3. Read the book to the class. Use your finger to run under the line being read and to point to key picture items.

  4. Select certain pages and encourage children to interact with the book in the following ways:

    • Identify key items in the picture that will aid in listening comprehension.
    • Hypothesize about what may happen next, what the motives of the characters might be, and why something is happening.
    • Discuss the feelings of the characters.
  5. At the conclusion of the book, introduce and define diversity (being different). When the two groups of Sneetches were together, could they have been considered diverse? Did they celebrate their diversity?

  6. Ask the students to consider if differences are important in how people should be treated or is it fair that all people be treated the same.

  7. Define and discuss the importance of respect for others. Have students give examples of how children will act toward one another if they have respect for each other.

  8. Brainstorm and record a list of things children like to do for fun. Ask each student to choose one of the activities and draw a picture of two children doing that activity. The two children should look as different as possible physically (using attributes from the brainstormed list) from each other, but the pictures should show them happily playing together.


As the children are engaged in the illustrating, converse with each child about their picture and its meaning. Listening for the concepts of diversity, fairness and respect.

Cross Curriculum 

Share ideas of ways to have fun with others and get to know many different people.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. 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.4 Demonstrate listening skills.