1. Give each student 5 dried beans. Ask them to examine the beans and choose the “Best” bean. Don’t give them any other information.
2. After 5 minutes, have some or all of the students to explain how they chose their “Best” bean.
3. Relate the beans to people by asking the following questions:
a. Are all of your beans the same on the inside?
b. Are all people the same on the inside?
c. When we eat the beans, do all the beans taste the same?
d. Imagine you are hanging off a cliff and are desperately clinging to a few blades of grass that are pulling loose from the ground. Suddenly, a hand appears from above to rescue you. Would you wait to see what that person looked like before you reached for help?
e. Is one bean better than another?
f. Is one person better than another?
Eleanor Roosevelt said “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.” Have a group discussion about this quote. What does it mean? How true is it? Can you think of cases where it might not be true? In what kinds of situations would this quote be most useful to remember?
Have everybody in the class bring in one or two advertisements aimed at teenagers. These can be cut out of magazines or taped off of TV. Have a class discussion to evaluate the ads by asking the following questions: How is this ad attempting to appeal to me? What assumptions does this ad make about me? How is this ad intended to make me feel about myself? Is there anything about this ad that’s intended to make me feel is ad intended to make me feel better about myself, or bad about myself? In what way is this ad attempting to appeal to me? Would I be most vulnerable to this ad if I had high self esteem, or low self-esteem?
Self-esteem has been compared to a bucket of water. It starts out full when we’re born, but whenever we develop negative beliefs about ourselves, it’s like poking little holes in that bucket and our self-esteem drips out.* Have the group brainstorm a list of things we do or say to ourselves or to others that pokes holes in the self-esteem bucket. Put this list on the wall to serve as a constant reminder.
Have each student place his thumb on an inkpad and make a thumb print. Use this site to identify their type of print. Discuss the fact that each fingerprint is special because it is totally unique. Then each student creates an animal using the thumbprint as the body.
Using pictures, words, or symbols clipped from magazines that represent things they enjoy doing or own, places they’ve been, people they admire, or careers they desire, students create a collage. They place their names on the back, and you can post the collages around the room. Have the other students guess which collage belongs to whom and state why they made that guess.
izzit.org provides a different daily news article with a series of discussion questions every weekday throughout the school year. These questions are designed to encourage critical thinking, challenge assumptions, and provoke lively classroom discussion.
Worldbook online is a great resource available to you.
Plagiarism.org is a great resource to help you avoid plagiarism. Click here for a quick guide that explains what plagiarism is.
Search the Library of Congress for your topic.