StudyCorgi Education

Diversity Teaching Scenarios

Introduction to Fractions Lesson Plan

The selected diversity theme for this lesson is racial diversity in the classroom and how it benefits everyone. In recent years, the U.S. Census Bureau highlighted that more than half of children in preschool and early grades are racial/ethnic minorities. However, diversity in educational programs does not always translate to diverse classrooms, with minority children being clustered together. Peer diversity maintains vital social benefits to all children, regardless their background or socio-economic status.

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The variety of backgrounds and races helps children to learn from and about peers that are different, with enduring and profound effects. Exposure to peers of racial/ethnic minorities in childhood informs positive perceptions and establishes acceptance and even friendship with peers that transcend racial and ethnic identities. Studies also found that children in racially diverse classrooms learned more expressive language skills. Social connections in diverse classrooms can significantly diminish social isolation, particularly of racial/ethnic minorities (Reid et al., 2015).

Going off the previous group Student Practice activity where students compared favorite types of fruit, the lesson can be transitioned into the topic of racial diversity. For example, the instructor states, “We all know that these fruits are different right? They taste different, look different, and are all kinds of colors. We as humans are also different in all kinds of wonderful ways. Many of us come from all kinds of families and even countries. Everyone has different skin colors, and each person brings something wonderful.” After that small introduction, the instructor should ask if students have any questions.

To relate the diversity topic to the lesson, the instructor along with the class can create fractions based on racial demographics, either in the same groups as before or for the whole class (although simplifying fractions may be too complex for the age group). The instructor can say, “Just like we created fractions with fruits we like, fractions can be created with students in this classroom!” Then, one can provide an example, in the group of 6, there 2 African American students, which amounts to 2/6 or 1/3. Similarly, 1 person is Asian American, 1/6. Meanwhile, 3 students are white, so there are 3/6 or 1/2. Students should be encouraged to make the fractions in their groups. After the activity, it is important to explain to the students that racial diversity is beneficial and provide real life examples. For example, “As you can see, each group has different fractions for each race. That’s ok. Your teachers and principals look at these numbers to make sure that everyone is included, and you can be friends, no matter the color of your skin. As you will learn in history class, that was not always this way. Now, the world is a diverse place! So, the more fractions there are in any given group, the better it is because each person brings something unique.”

Counting the Number of Equal Parts Lesson Plan

The selected diversity theme for this lesson is gender and sexual identity. It is important to teach facts about sex assigned at birth and concepts regarding gender identity and gender expression as advocacy for LGBTQ youth. According to Baum and Westheimer (n.d.), the binary notions of society regarding gender, biology, and sexual orientation exclude significant portions of diverse human populations. “This diversity can be better understood by using spectrum-based models … [which] make room for anyone whose experiences do not narrowly fit into binary choices” (Baum & Westheimer, n.d., par. 2). The necessary discussion and inclusion of non-binary youth is a vital element of gender-based diversity in education.

The lesson is targeted at 4th grade level, so discussions of sexual orientation should remain general, but both gender identity and sexual orientation can be discussed. The diversity scenario should be introduced with stating the assumption, “While we are accustomed of hearing about only two genders, male and female; and of two sexual orientations, either homosexual or heterosexual – both gender and sexual orientations can be diverse.” It should be noted that while the class will not be getting into details about the topic at the moment, it is important to be inclusive of everyone, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation.

Since, the lesson focuses on equal parts of a whole in terms of fractions, the principle can be applied (albeit loosely) to the diversity topic on hand. The activity should be conducted as a whole class, with the instructor leading the discussion. For example, it can be discussed how many perceive gender to be binary as either boy or girl. This makes 2 equal parts of a whole, or ½ and ½. However, that may not always be the case, as some individuals identify as non-binary or neither of these groups, creating a new part of the whole. Now the whole (or all humans) can be equally divided into 3 parts or 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3. In some cases, people may identify as bigender or both male and female, creating yet another equal part – thus creating a division by 1/4ths. Similar examples can be presented with sexual orientation if appropriate.

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At the end of the discussion, it is important to emphasize the application of the parts of a whole principle. The instructor should discuss that although non-binary or bigender individuals may be a minority, they are still equal parts of a whole. They are people and they have equal value. This should highlight elements of inclusivity in the context of diversity.

Comparing Fractions Lesson Plan

Equity in education is a critical diversity topic given the history and even the current political and socioeconomic situation in the United States. It is a prominent social issue that educational attainment in the United States is now equitable in regard to race and sometimes gender. Equity in education requires for systems to be put in place that ensure that each child has an equal chance for success. The OECD defines two dimensions in regard to equity in education which are fairness and inclusion. Fairness ensures that social circumstances do not prevent student from achieving academic potential. Meanwhile, inclusion indicates there is a minimum basic standard in education that can be shared by all students regardless of background, place of living or location. Standards are academic standards, supported academic level, and monetary resources dedicated to funding the education of served populations (OECD, 2018). Therefore, equity in education also promotes diversity.

The lesson can be introduced by the instructor to discuss the value of education. “While most of you are in school, not everyone has that opportunity. Even if they do, their schools are much older and broken down than yours. Most of you will probably want to go to college, but did you know that so many people also want to go to college but can’t because of various constraints.” It may be viable to describe how racial minorities and women often get less opportunity for education around the world and even in the United States.

Connecting the diversity topic to the lesson plan can be done through statistics. Certain statistics can be presented in the form of fractions. For example, 9 out of 10 (9/10) students will finish high school. Only 1 out of 3 (1/3) women will go and finish college. Only 1/2 of African Americans have the opportunity to go to college and 2/9 of them finish. Approximately 4/25 of Hispanics attain a bachelor’s degree. Approximately 3/5 of whites have the opportunity to go to college (Ryan & Bauman, 2016). Others may be included. The students should be asked to compare these fractions side by side when relevant. For example, the college attendance rate between Hispanics, African Americans and Whites can be compared. Students are asked to determine which fraction is greater and which is lesser. After the mathematical portion is completed, the teacher should explain the relevance of these statistics and fractions, highlighting the lack of equity. For example, it can be discussed how minorities have much lower attendance in college because oftentimes, there is much less socioeconomic opportunity and much greater barriers. Potentially, consequences of this on society can be established, with factors such as contributing to poverty and racial divisions.

Revision of Fractions Lesson Plan

Although religious diversity presents unique challenges in the American society and ideals, it receives explicit protection in the U.S. Constitution and both citizens and organizations are responsible for protecting religious freedom. In a pluralistic society, it is important to convey knowledge regarding religious diversity in public school settings as it aids in protecting religious freedom and remains a positive civic endeavor. Teaching about religion allows to convey knowledge beneficial to good citizenship in a liberal democracy. Classroom discussion about such challenging and controversial issues can model the civility and tolerance that students may exemplify later as adults in discussion of such issues. Furthermore, the understanding of the subject helps students to internalize virtues of tolerance by learning about the various religious traditions or perspectives and discussing the topic in a respectful manner (Owens, 2016).

The instructor should introduce the topic by describing the concept of religious diversity. “The United States as a country was founded upon religious principles and now the highly diverse nation holds hundreds of beliefs and religious denominations. Religious freedom is a right enshrined in the Constitution and America is known as the country which provides the freedom to worship and believe or to not believe in anything one wants. Religion is a common statistic which is collected by governments. The following are statistics for major religions in the United States – 25% Evangelical Christians, 15% Mainline Protestant, 21% Catholic, 3% Other Christian, 2% Jewish, 1.1% Muslim, .7% Buddhis, .7% Hindu, and 23% unaffiliated or non-religious as well as 16% undecided/unknown (Pew Research Center, 2015). This does not include everyone, but it gives you a perspective on how religiously diverse the country is.”

The instructor should then connect the topic to the lesson plan. “While the school does not usually collect data on religious affiliation, I have applied the statistics from earlier to create some complex fractions based on our school population. Rounded, our school has 1,150 students. Hypothetically, the non-Christian faiths represent 52 out of 1150 students which can be represented by the fraction 52/1150. Please simplify the fraction to the best of your ability. Your grade has 360 students, of which 224 are hypothetically Christian as portrayed by the fraction 224/360. Please simplify.” Other similar examples can be given, with the class given a couple minutes to simplify each fraction. In the end, the teacher should discuss the merits of religious diversity and inclusivity, highlighting themes of tolerance, acceptance, respect and inclusivity for all religions as well as those who choose not to believe or do not yet know in what to believe, in the school and society.

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References

Baum, J., & Westheimer, K. (n.d.). Gender and sexual identity. https://www.tolerance.org/topics/gender-sexual-identity

OECD. (2018). Equity in education: Braking down barriers to social mobility. https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/9789264073234-en.pdf?expires=1605966951&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=75F996A74E2646DC28F44983E057A64C

Owens, E. (2016). Religious Freedom and civic education in American public schools. In M. Pirner, J. Lähnemann, & H. Bielefeldt (Eds.), Human rights and religion in educational contexts. Interdisciplinary studies in human rights, vol 1. (pp. 257-272). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-39351-3_21

Pew Research Center. (2015). America’s changing religious landscape. https://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/

Reid, J. L., Kagan, S.., Hilton, M., & Potter, H. (2015). A better start. Why classroom diversity matters in early education. Retrieved Nov. 21 from https://www.prrac.org/pdf/A_Better_Start.pdf

Ryan, C. L., & Bauman, K. (2016). Educational attainment in the United States: 2015. Retrieved Nov. 21 from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2016/demo/p20-578.pdf

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StudyCorgi. (2021, March 2). Diversity Teaching Scenarios. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/diversity-teaching-scenarios/

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