Lesson Plan Title : Segregated Pencil Sharpeners

Age Range: Kindergarten through grade 2 (Early Elementary)

Overview and Purpose: Children learn about segregation in this activity using two different colored pencils and a manual and electric pencil sharpener.

Objective: The student will be able to explain what segregation is.


Electric pencil sharpener

Manual pencil sharpener

New pencils-use two different colors (not skin tone colors)


Pass the pencils out to the students, giving some of them one color pencil and some of them the other color pencil. Ask the students to sharpen their pencils. Choose one of the colors and explain that the students with that color pencil may use the electric pencil sharpener. Students who have the other color pencil must use the manual pencil sharpener.

After the students have had an opportunity to sharpen their pencils, discuss what they thought about some of the students having to use the manual pencil sharpener just because of the color of their pencil. Explain that this is what segregation was about. People who did not have white skin were not allowed to use the same things that people who did have white skin could. Allow them time to discuss their feelings about this.

Wrap Up:

For follow up, have the students show the opposite of segregation. Have them draw pictures showing people of different races doing something together.