Exploring Diversity Through Music (6-8)

Diversity Beans - Exploring Diversity Through Music Lesson Plan (6-8)

Objective: Use music to discuss diversity.

Materials Required: Approx. 1.5 oz of Diversity Beans per student. Books discussing various music styles.


A. Have the class list various styles of music, such as Jazz, Country, Rock, Classical, Heavy Metal, Rap, etc.

B. Divide the class into 6 groups and assign each group a style of music to explore. Have each group list the attributes of their style on the board.

C. Have each group select examples of their style and present them to the class.

D. Divide the Diversity Beans up by color and assign a color to each music style. Assign a flavor with each color and style. Have the groups list the color and flavor on the board with their style.

E. Have each group taste a Diversity Bean of their color. Ask the students to raise their hand if they tasted the flavor they expected based on the color tasted.

F. Record on the board next to each style, the various flavors tasted for each color. Repeat 4-5 times and record the variety of flavors for each color.

G. Discuss with the class whether color or flavor or both or neither is the best attribute for each style of music.

H. Have the students list any similarities between the different styles of music. Discuss if there are examples of music where the style is hard to classify. Play some music for the class that is hard to classify and have them try to characterize the music.

I. Discuss with the class why music can be hard to classify. Discuss the fact that many pieces of music exhibit numerous styles and are hard to classify.

J. Ask the students to give examples of musicians in each style. Discuss whether the musicians used the same style throughout their career or whether they used various styles.

K. Discuss whether certain styles of music portray subjects better than others.

L. Return to the discussion of color and flavor as they pertain to music style. Discuss the various flavors for each color in terms of the discussions on styles of music. (Sometimes an a country artist may use rock).

M. Relate this discussion to styles of people. Have the class discuss the various styles that people may use in their everyday life. Discuss parenting styles, teaching styles, leadership styles, etc. Also discuss exterior characteristics of people (such as happy, detail oriented, optimistic, etc.). Discuss how appearances can be deceiving.

N. Return to the Diversity Beans and ask if appearances are a true indication of substance (flavor).

O. Discuss how this relates to people, you can't judge people by appearances. Relate this to diversity and the concept that we should judge people based on actions, attitudes and behavior and not on appearance or stereotypes.

P. Discuss that everyone has social interaction styles that may or may not represent the true character of the person. Ask the class for examples. Discuss how some sports figures are huge and mean on the field but are actually gentle people. Discuss the terms “gentle giant”, “mouse that roared”, etc.

Q. Relate that just as musicians use multiple styles and often are hard to characterize, people are multifaceted and hard to judge quickly. Diversity means recognizing that we are all different and shouldn't be judged on appearance. 

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