Stereo What?

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Students explore the preconceived opinions that we have about people based on first impressions and lack of understanding of different perspectives. Students explore examples of bias in their own personal experiences.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Sixty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • define "stereotype," "prejudice," "tolerance," "intolerance," "bias" and "discrimination."
  • describe the difference between and identify examples of stereotype, prejudice, and discrimination.
  • identify personal biases.
  • Several pictures from magazines depicting people from widely diverse backgrounds and expressions (reflecting a variety of backgrounds, styles, and stereotypes). 
  • Chart paper
  • Self-stick notes
  • Personal Opinion Survey (handout)
Home Connection 

Students will be asked to ask their parents for times that they have experienced or witnessed discrimination and prejudice in their lives. Students will be asked to report when they return to class the next day. Be sure to ask students to get permission from their parents to share the stories and accounts the next day.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Upon entering the classroom, the students will find a variety of pictures of diverse people. Ask the students to identify the pictures of people who are from a different country.

    Discuss with students the pictures and their conclusions. What assumptions do we make with very little information?

  2. Distribute Personal Opinion Survey (handout) to students. Ask them to silently check the responses that are closest to their opinion. Tell them that some of the statements may be narratives the media inadvertently communicates. 

  3. Write "stereotype" on the board or overhead and ask students to give their ideas of what the term means. Record several responses.

    Using chart paper, write the remaining vocabulary words (prejudice, tolerance, intolerance, bias,  and discrimination), one word on each sheet. Distribute self-sticking notes to the students and ask them to write a definition for each word without actually looking up the word. Have the students put their definitions on the chart paper. Ask a few students to explain their definitions and why they wrote what they did. After discussion of several definitions, arrive at one common definition for each term. Once the definition has been determined, have students look up the terms in a dictionary to determine the accuracy of their definitions. Solicit examples of each of the terms. At this point, students should add these definitions to their notes and/or journals.

  4. Have the students discuss how they felt about the opinion survey with two other students in the classroom. Ask them to discuss where they learn their perspectives.

    Give them tips for listening with respect. They don't have to share their biases, and they should try to listen without judgment. Note: Be advised that there will be some differences in attitudes among the students. Make sure students understand that they are not in a debate but becoming aware of the messages we hear and adopt. 

  5. Conduct a class discussion of the opinion surveys. Ask students why their surveys are the same or different from others (family background, experience). Discuss the value of differences in a community. Discuss the challenges.

  6. Discuss how a community can work for the common good if the people have different perspectives.

    Discuss what they can do (as a service project) to promote respect and appreciation for diversity. Ask students whether there is a specific population that they would like to advocate for. 


Optional: Some of the statements on the opinion survey could be an expression of one of the vocabulary terms. As an assessment, have students write a sentence relating the statement to a vocabulary word, and turning the statement around so it is inclusive. 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.6 Describe <i>social class</i> and its role in a nation's history.