Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies


AUTHOR:     Robbie Fearon;   Burlington Elementary School
            Burlington, CO   80807

Social studies, language arts, health  (or as part of a unit on
individual differences)

OVERVIEW:  The ability to respect and accept individual differences
has a dramatic impact on the quality of life for all of us.  Many
times children feel more secure with sameness, afraid of being
different themselves or of getting close to anyone who is. 
Students can develop an understanding and respect for individual

PURPOSE:  The purpose of this lesson, used during the early part
of the school year, is to introduce the concept that everyone is
the same in some ways and different in others.

OBJECTIVES:  As a result of this activity the students will:
     1.  Understand that differences among people have a positive
value to society.
     2.  Understand that such differences add to the quality
interest, and value of our lives.
     3.  Realize that although we are different we have many things
in common.

MATERIALS:  One apple for each student in the class (plus 2-3
extra).  The apples should be various sizes, shapes, and colors. 
With younger children it helps to choose apples with
"distinguishing characteristics" such as leaves, scars, and small
bruises.  You will also need a sharp knife.

RESOURCES:  Activities celebrating individual differences are
available from:  Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith; 823 United
Nations Plaza;  New York, NY   10017.

ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES:  Tell the students we will be spending
some time finding out about how people are the same and how they
are different.  Put the apples on a table in front of the class. 
Have each student in the class choose an apple. Tell them to get
to know their apple real well.  Suggest they notice their apple's
special characteristics.  Have them make up a story about their
apple and tell it to a friend (modeling this step is helpful with
younger students).  Allow the students to share their stories with
the rest of the class.  Direct the students to return their apples
to the table in front of the class.  Mix the apples up and ask the
students to come back and find their apple. When they return to
their seats ask how they knew which apple was theirs (they will
indicate things like color, size, shape, special features).  Ask
what this has to do with people.  Make a list of how people are
different. Discuss why this is important.  Make a list of how
people are the same.  Discuss why this is important.  The lists may
be done in cooperative groups and then shared with the entire

TYING IT TOGETHER:  Summarize the importance of individual
differences and similarities in people.  Suggest that one way in
which all people are similar is that they all have a star inside
them (something special that makes them shine, that they especially
like about themselves), just like each apple has a star inside it. 
Cut each apple in half (don't cut the usual way, but through the
center the other way). Let each child see the star inside their
apple.  While the students eat the apple, allow them to share
something about their star, their strengths, their individuality.


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