Diversity Beans - Exploring Diversity with Geography Lesson Plan (Grades 6-8)
Objective: Explore the diversity of people found throughout the world.
Materials Required: Map of the world and 1.5 oz of Diversity Beans per student.
A. Divide the class up into 6 groups and assign each group a country. Some recommended countries would be Mexico, China, Japan, England, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Canada, India, Argentina, Kenya, Egypt, Israel, Australia, etc.
B. Have the groups study their assigned country and prepare a short oral report describing the area. The description can include crops grown, rural, urban, population, accents, types of food, capital, landmarks, ethnic backgrounds, sports teams, famous people, weather and climate, topography, etc.
C. Assign each group a color of Diversity Beans to represent the people of their country.
D. Have them assign attributes to the people based on their knowledge and perceptions of the country.
E. Record on the board or on flip-charts the attributes given to the people, basically have the students stereotype the people in their assigned countries.
F. Ask the students if they have relatives that live in any of the countries, or if they have lived there previously.
G. Ask them if they think the descriptions developed by the groups are accurate.
H. Ask if anyone can define the word stereotype, and define it for the class. Lead the class in a discussion of stereotyping and how easy it is to stereotype based on race, sex, ethnicity, background, appearance, etc.
I. Ask the students what they expect from their color Diversity Beans.
J. Associate the flavor with the country and people.
K. Lead them in a discussion of exterior appearance creating expectations and stereotyping.
L. Have them taste a bean associated with their country. Record how many tasted what they expected.
M. Repeat the tasting 5 or 6 times and record the results.
N. Discuss the fact that people (Diversity Beans) from one country may have all the same appearance but have different flavors. Also, people (Diversity Beans) with the same flavor are distributed throughout the world (have the students who tasted lemon raise their hands and show that "lemon" people are distributed throughout the world).
O. Ask the students if anyone feels confident that they can pick a "person" from a given country and match both the color and flavor of the bean. Have them try and record the success rate.
P. Lead them in a discussion on not letting stereotypes/expectations affect their opinion of people. Explain to them the harm in prejudging people based on appearance, nationality or background.
Q. Lead a discussion on the fact that where someone is from does not determine what they are like. Discuss behaviors and attitudes versus appearance.