Exploring Diversity and Stereotypes (9-12)

Diversity Beans - Exploring Diversity and Stereotypes Lesson Plan (Grades 9-12) 

Objective: Explore diversity and stereotypes.

Materials Required: Approx. 1.5 oz of Diversity Beans per student.


A. Introduce the subject of stereotyping and ask the students to define stereotyping.

B. Have the students give some examples of stereotyping and of the type of people that are stereotyped.

C. Expand on the students definition and explain how everyone can be stereotyped in one way or another; by gender, race, religion, national origin, job, place of origin, etc. Discuss whether the group being stereotyped can accurately stereotype themselves, i.e. can men stereotype themselves, or women stereotype themselves? Discuss the fact that the people being stereotyped would NOT generally be able to stereotype themselves, they do not “see” the attributes and this causes the hurt feelings.

D. Break the students up into 4-6 even groups.

E. Give each group room on the blackboard, white board or a flip chart and assign each group a class of people to stereotype. Recommended classes are teachers, coaches, doctors, lawyers, professional sports players, Southerners, Northerners, Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians, teenagers, girls, boys, adults, police officers, etc.

F. Have the groups of students list all the stereotypical attributes of the class of people they are assigned.

G. Divide the Diversity Beans up by color, assigning one color to each class of people that was stereotyped, i.e. doctors are orange beans, lawyers are green beans, etc.
H. Place the beans on the tables at each group but do not allow the students to eat the beans.

I. Correlate the color with the flavor and the class stereotyped, i.e. all lawyers are represented by green beans and the taste is lime. Explain that this is the basis for stereotyping, judging people not on what they may be but on perceptions. Lead the class in a discussion of the fact that stereotypes are learned and generally learned in the home.

J. Have the students discuss any stereotypes that they have or see in their home. Explain that everyone has stereotypes and that does not make us bad people.

K. Have the students taste the Diversity Beans one at a time and record their perception before and the reality after.

L. Let each group sample at least 5-6 beans per member.

M. When all the groups are finished, have them report the results.

N. Lead a discussion on what this means. Discuss how the class stereotyped lawyers as green and lime flavored. When a green “lawyer” was tasted though, the flavor could be any of the twelve flavors. If a green bean tastes lemon, is the bean a lawyer because it is green or is it a doctor because it is lemon. Discuss with the class that you can't stereotype people into just one class, people are made up of a lot of attributes and stereotyping based on just one of them is invalid.

O. Have the class define “diversity” and what it means in society.

P. Explain to the class that diversity means that we recognize and accept the fact that we all have differences due to race, gender, ethnic origin, job, etc. Diversity does NOT mean that we have to like everyone or that we need to accept everyone's behaviors. Diversity means that we are all different and we should be aware of the differences and not judge people based on appearances or perceived traits. We should base our opinions of people on behaviors and attitudes, NOT on titles, appearances or stereotypes.

Q. Ask the students to think again about the stereotypes they have and to discuss them with the class.

R. Lead the class in a discussion on what can or should be done about stereotypes. Explain that stereotyping is human behavior and that everyone does it. Diversity means that we recognize up front that we all tend to do this but we should try to judge people by learning about them and getting to know them.