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Age Range: Grade 3 through Grade 5 (Elementary)
Overview and Purpose: Let's face it. We may be uncomfortable discussing it, but discrimination is everywhere, in one way or another. Students will have a chance to open up about what they have seen and maybe even experienced firsthand.
Objective: The student will be able to explain how it feels to be discriminated against. They will be able to relate that feeling to the racial discrimination in our country.
Doughnuts (one for each student in the class)
Explain that you have brought a treat today. Choose a trivial trait (students wearing glasses or blue jeans) and give them a doughnut. Let them eat it while the rest of the class watches. Explain to the other students that they may not talk to the students who are eating the doughnuts (and the ones eating may not talk to them.) Do not tell them why they are special, just that they are and that they can enjoy their doughnut.
Wait for the questions. Explain that these students are special and that is all the students need to know. Encourage any timid eaters to eat and enjoy. Remind any who are eating who speak up that they should be quiet.
When the students are finished eating, explain your reasoning for choosing those students and ask all the students to write in their journals how they feel.
When everyone has had a chance to write their feelings, talk about the exercise. Relate the exercise to the discrimination that happened in America. Touch on how uncomfortable some white people were with the discrimination but felt that they could not do anything about it. Make sure you give a doughnut to all the students who did not get one.
In addition to the above exercise, you could have students make a collage using various resources (internet, magazines, newspapers, etc.) to find pictures depicting acts of discrimination and kindness. They can then present their collages to the class.