What Is Sensitivity?

9, 10, 11, 12

This lesson will further develop the definition of philanthropy as it relates to characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. This lesson will focus on differences in characters within the novel and the sensitivity, as seen in specific actions, which enables the characters to participate in philanthropic acts.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne to Two Fifty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • differentiate between internal and external differences in people.
  • define prejudice and describe how it manifests itself in acts of discrimination and stereotyping.
  • explain the importance of sensitivity when working with individuals who display different characteristics.
  • identify acts of sensitivity and philanthropy in To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Overhead projector
  • Chart paper, chalk board, or white board
  • Markers or chalk
  • Character Chart (Attachment One)

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Warner Books, 1960.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Play an attribute game with the students. Have students stand either at their desks or in a circle if your room permits. Instruct students that if they display the characteristics you describe, they must sit down. Vary the attributes so they cover obvious differences and those that are not as obvious. As an example, ask students wearing blue jeans to sit down and also ask students who like broccoli to sit down.

  2. Begin a class discussion about differences in people. Have students brainstorm a list of differences that are found in people. As they contribute to the discussion, generate two lists on chart paper or the board: one list with examples of external or physical differences, the other list showing internal differences or those that you cannot see just from looking at a person. If students seem to focus on the external characteristics, lead them toward sharing internal differences as well. Have students come up with labels for the two lists. Ask the students which are qualities about a person that may allow people to form stereotypes or judgments about others.

    • In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus tells Scout: that you cannot judge a person until you walk around in his skin. How does this quote relate to the discussion?
    • Begin discussing prejudice. Create a class definition of prejudice and post it in the room. Discuss some different forms of prejudice such as ageism and racism. Discuss the differences in discrimination (acting out our prejudices) and prejudice. Relate this discussion to the novel and to Tom Robinson's legal battle. Discuss the differences in characters in the novel and the ability or inability of these characters to be sensitive to the differences of others.
    • Have students fill in Character Chart (Attachment One) to show how various characters in the novel exemplified sensitivity. Have students list one philanthropic act that each character demonstrated that shows sensitivity.

Completion of chart to turn in for a grade.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.