Are We All that Different?

American Trustees Project

Amy Wong Mok from American Trustees Project on Vimeo.

Read the transcript or watch the closed-captioned video.

Barney Flores from Annette Strauss Institute on Vimeo.

Read the transcript or watch the closed-captioned video.

PREVIEWING (20 minutes)

1. Start the class by introducing the topic of diversity. Give each student an index card and ask them to write their definition of diversity. Limit the activity to 1 minute.

2. After students finished writing, ask them to share their definitions with the whole class. Point out that there are many different types of diversity (racial, ethnic, occupational, religious, etc.). Ask students for examples of types of diversity.

3. Collect the index cards. They may be used at the end of the class or after the topic is covered to see if students' impressions have changed.

4. Give each student an orange. Ask them to examine it carefully. Then ask if anyone's orange is special in any way and ask the student to describe his or her orange to the class.

5. Then collect oranges and put all of them into a big trash bag. Ask several volunteers to come and find their orange in the bag. Ask what the exercise teaches them about diversity.

NOTE 1: In a large class, it might be difficult to supervise this activity, so instead of distributing oranges at once, you may divide the class into smaller groups and assign a person to help out with distributing and collecting oranges. If you select this option, do not re-group students until after they have watched videos.

NOTE 2: Allow students the opportunity to reflect on the teaching point by assigning a written activity or a minute paper. Give them the chance to respond in their journals about what the oranges taught them about diversity.


  1. Tell the students that they are going to watch two videos about people whose lives have been affected by issues of diversity.
  2. As a class, watch the brief Barney Flores video, then give students a few minutes to reflect and finalize their notes. Repeat this process with the Amy Wong Mok video.
  3. Ask students to compare notes and share their observations with the class. Ask what similarities and differences they noticed between these two people.
  4. Divide the class into small groups (4-5 people) to discuss issues of diversity, prejudice, and discrimination (TRANSPERANCY 1).

NOTE: You may project the list of questions from overhead projector or print a copy of it for each group.

APPLICATION (40 minutes)

1. Ask if the students think their school and/or communities are diverse and whether or not certain groups are being discriminated against. Guide the discussion carefully and ask students if other people might view the issues of diversity and discrimination at school and/or in the community differently.

2. Ask student to create a short questionnaire (8-10 questions) to explore opinions about diversity. Instruct them to work in pairs or groups of 3, choose a specific aspect of diversity and design a questionnaire. After 7-8 minutes of work, call on the groups to read their questions aloud.

3. As students read their questions aloud, weed out the repetitive ones, agree on the wording and sequence of questions.

4. Once the master questionnaire is created, print it out, and assign as homework to run it in their communities and school. Make sure to decide on the limit of respondents.


1. During the following class, collect the questionnaires, and run the data analysis.

2. Distribute an index card to each student asking them to write definitions of diversity, prejudice and discrimination. Give back cards collected during the previous class. Ask volunteers to share whether or not their definitions and/or opinions on the issues have changed.


Students may be assessed on:
1. written journal responses;
2. participation in class discussion;
3. creating a questionnaire; and
4. presentation skills.