BC Social Studies Lesson Plans

Equity and Diversity: Celebrating the Differences within My Classroom Community

Grade K-3


Equity and Diversity: Celebrating the Differences within My Classroom Community

Big Idea

Our communities are diverse and made of individuals who have a lot in common

Essential Question

How can we recognize, appreciate and celebrate our differences?

Learning Standards Content

Students are expected to know the following:

  • Ways in which individuals and families differ and are the same

Curricular Competencies

Students are expected to be able to do the following:

  • Acknowledge different perspectives on people, places, issues, or events in their lives (perspective)
  • Identify fair and unfair aspects of events, decision, or actions in their lives and consider appropriate courses of action (ethical judgement)

Core Competencies

I can see different points of view.

I can explain my thinking about equality and equity.

I can participate in activities that make my school and community a better place.

First People's Principles of Learning

Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits, and the ancestors.
  • The direct instruction of equity, inclusion and diversity is a cornerstone of a solid foundation in the development of social and emotional learning. All children can begin to learn about and understand kindness, empathy, respect and belonging so everyone can feel they are part of their community.
  • The practise of using our “Head, Heart and Feet” will be interwoven throughout our lessons with an emphasis on how students are feeling and teaching them to express themselves with the emotion words. 
    • Head: What do I Know and Wonder?
    • Heart: How Do I Feel About This?
    • Feet: What Action Steps Will I Take?
  • This pre-assessment can be completed over three days as it may be too long for the children to sit through all three brainstorming sessions. The children will complete the first (Head: What do I Know and Wonder?) and second (Heart: How Do I Feel About This?) charts in the pre-assessment. They will complete the last chart (Feet: What Action Steps Will I Take?) in the post-assessment.
  • Show the children three separate charts of a head, a heart and feet.  Explain that they will be thinking about what they know (the thoughts in their brain) and how they feel (the feelings in their heart) about the difference between equal and fair.   They will complete the last chart at the end of the unit.
  • Create first chart:

Head - What do I know?

  • What does equal mean to me?  
  • What are some of the times people try to make things equal?
  • Explain that we can also use the word equality when we talk about making things equal
  • Project or print image on the handout “Equality”.
  • Point out that the adult and each child have a box exactly the same size to stand on to see over the fence, so they have each received an equal This is an example of equality because they have each been given exactly the same amount.
  • Discuss:
    • What does fair mean to me?  
    • What are some of the times people try to make things fair?   
  • Point out that we can also use the word equity or equitable when we talk about making things fair for everyone.
  • Have students look at the picture again.  Point out that each person has a box the same size to look over the fence. 
    • This is equal but is it fair
    • Why is this not fair?  

          We know that equal and fair do not mean the same thing. So, while it’s equal, it’s not          really fair or equitable because the adult can probably see over the fence without the     box, but the smallest child cannot, even with the box to boost him up. 

  • Create second chart:
  •  Heart - How does this make me feel?  
    • How do I feel the little boy cannot see over the fence?
    • How do I feel when things might be equal for everyone else, they didn’t seem fair to me?

Part One: What is the difference between equal and fair?

Literature Selection:  Brontorina by James Howe


Resources and Preparation:

  • tubs of blocks of equal number, regardless of size or shape for building individually, in pairs or small groups
  • dinosaur figure (or photo) and ballet shoes (or photo)



  • Display a dinosaur figure and a pair of ballet shoes.
  • Ask:
    • What do you think is the connection between the dinosaur and the ballet shoes?
    • How could a dinosaur participate in ballet class?
    • Where could you get ballet shoes for a dinosaur?
  • Read aloud Brontorina


Key Questions:

  • What does Madame notice about Brontorina’s dancing?
  • What are the two things Brontorina needs to be a ballet dancer in Madame’s Ballet School?
  • How are Brontorina’s needs met so that she can fully participate?
  • How did Madame’s perspective about Brontorina’s size change?
  • What are some of the new changes you notice at the end of the story about Madame’s Ballet School?
    • Madame and the children realised that Brontorina had specific needs to be met so she could be a dancer in the Ballet School.
    • There will be times when we need to give others more or extra, to make things fair, or equitable for everyone. For example, we can use a step stool to help the children who are not tall enough to reach the sink; people wear glasses so they can see as well as those who do not need them


Student Response and Reflection: “Tall Towers”

  • Provide children with a set number of blocks and encourage them to build the tallest tower they can.
  • Allow time for children to walk around the towers to compare the towers by height and admire each other’s work.
    • Ask: Why are the towers not all the same height, even though each tower has the same number of blocks?
  • It might be equal that each tower has the same number of blocks, but it’s not equitable because some blocks are smaller than the others so they cannot create the tallest tower.
    • Ask: What should we do to make it equitable for everybody?
  • Have children take the number of blocks they think they need to make all of the towers equal in height and rebuild their tower.



  • Ask children to share about a time when they needed extra help or a boost to complete or participate in an activity.  What are some things we do in our classroom to make things equitable for all of our classmates? 

Part Two: How do I want to be treated?

Literature Selection: Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller


Resources and Preparation:

  • a sign with The Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
  • a sign with “Do unto otters as you would have them do unto you.”
  • cotton balls enough for each student
  • strips of sandpaper for each student
  • chart paper and markers


  • Set up the two signs and read them aloud slowly to the children.
  • Ask: What does the first sign about The Golden Rule mean?  What are some examples of The Golden Rule?  Why is The Golden Rule important?
  • Ask: What does the second sign mean?  Why did the author say “otters” instead of “others?”  What do you think our story is about today?
  • Read aloud Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners


Key Questions:

  • Rabbit asked, “How do I want the otters to treat me?”  Review the main ideas about how Mr. Rabbit wanted the otters to treat him.
    • What can you do to show you are friendly?
    • What are some of the words and phrases we can use to show our good manners?
    • What does honesty mean to you?  What does it mean to the otters?
    • What are some examples of being considerate, or thinking of others?
    • How do we show kindness through our words and actions?
    • Cooperate means to work well together. What are some of the times we need to work well together?  What does it look like when we cooperate?
    • What are some of the rules for fair play?
    • Why do we share?  How does it make us feel to share with others?
    • What is teasing?  How do you feel after someone has been teasing you?
    • After someone has apologised for unkind words or actions, how do we act in a forgiving way?


Student Response and Reflection: Cotton Ball vs. Sandpaper Words

  • Give each child a cotton ball. Have them feel the texture of the cotton ball and brainstorm about what they notice. Record their ideas (a cotton ball is soft, cuddly, fluffy, soothing). 
  • Give each child a piece of sandpaper. Have them feel the texture of the sandpaper and brainstorm what they notice. Record their ideas (sandpaper is rough, dry, hurts, bumpy).
  • Ask children to think about words that are like cotton balls (soft, gentle, soothing) and record on chart paper. Discuss the situations where they might use cotton ball words when they speak with their classmates.
  • Ask children to think about words that are like sandpaper (hurtful, rough, uncomfortable) and record on chart paper. Discuss the situations where they might use sandpaper words when feeling upset or angry.
  • Review the sandpaper words chart and ask how they could change these phrases to make them softer and kinder like the cotton ball words.



  • Invite the children sit in a Sharing Circle, and those who are able can share aloud a cotton ball compliment directed to the whole group


Part Three: How can I help accommodate and meet the needs of others?

Literature Selection:  I Love Vincent by Laura Ljungkvist (released on August 3, 2021)


Resources and Preparation:

  • stuffed dog, picture of a white cane, sunglasses, Braille sample
  • chart paper and markers
  • sleep masks or blind folds (optional)



  • Place the following items in the middle of the Sharing Circle, or on a table where the children can gather round to see: a realistic looking stuffed dog, a white cane for the visually impaired (or picture of a white cane), sunglasses, a Braille sample (or photo).
  • Name each of the items with the children.
  • Ask: What is the connection between these items?
    • One or more of these items may be used by someone who is visually impaired or blind
    • A person who is visually impaired cannot see, or has limited vision; they need extra support, or an accommodation, so they can participate safely in everyday activities just like people with full vision.
    • A visually impaired person might have a guide dog to get around more easily, use a white cane to check their immediate surroundings, wear the sunglasses for eye protection, or read Braille by touching the dot patterns for letters and numbers.
  • Read aloud I Love Vincent.


Key Questions:

  • Why does Vincent need Scout, a guide dog?
  • What are some of the tasks that Scout does for Vincent?
  • What are some of the tasks that Vincent does for Scout?
  • How does Scout make Vincent’s everyday living manageable, when compared to people who have their sight?
  • What might happen if Vincent did not have Scout?
  • Why can we not all have a dog to help us with our everyday living?  
    • Vincent has a need.  He is blind.  To make his life better he needs an accommodation, and that is why he has Scout to help him with his daily living.  Scout acts as Vincent’s “eyes.”  Scout makes things more equitable or fair for Vincent so he is able to do more of the things people with sight can do.


Student Response and Reflection: “Blind Walk”

  • Create partner groups for the children in the class.
  • One child in the pair will wear a sleep mask or blindfold.
  • The other child in the pair will gently hold the blindfolded child by the arm or elbow.
  • Starting in the meeting area, or other safe zone, allow the child without the blindfold to lead the “blind” partner safely around the classroom or playground (no climbing on equipment).
  • The child without the blindfold acts as the “eyes” to guide, navigate and explain to the blindfolded child where they are going, if there are obstacles in the way, and to keep them safe just as Scout does for Vincent.
  • Signal everyone to return to the meeting area, or safe zone, to change roles.
  • After completing the “blind walk,” discuss how each “sighted” partner helped to meet the needs of the blindfolded partner.



  • There are many people with different needs and abilities who may need extra help, or accommodation, to make living better and more equitable or fair for them.
  • We know people who are blind can learn to read Braille and have a guide dog.
  • We know people who cannot hear can learn to read sign language and have hearing aids.
  • We know people who have difficulty walking may use a wheelchair or wear braces on their arms for support.
  • Children can share any experience (personal or observed) they may have had with needs and accommodations.

Part Four: What is diversity?

Literature Selection: We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio


Resources and Preparation:

  • a class set of pictures of people from different backgrounds and experiences, appropriate for Kindergarten
  • Story Workshop supplies - an assortment of loose parts for the class, a variety of different coloured construction paper with a face shape drawn ahead of time
  • half-sized sheets of paper for drawing
  • pencils and crayons



  • Provide one picture card to each child.
  • Allow each child to study the picture for a minute or two; then, talk to a classmate about the person in the picture and who they might be.
  • Ask each child to share what they think is the story of the person in their picture.
  • Read aloud We’re All Wonders.


Key Questions:

  • How is Auggie just an ordinary child?  What does he like to do that is the same as you?
  • How is Auggie different from you and the other children?
  • What are some of the unkind actions that hurt Auggie and Daisy’s feelings?  (We might not think people can hear the unkind words, or see the unkind actions, but they can.)
  • How do you feel when other people say unkind words or do unkind things to you? (We’ve learned that we need to treat others [otters] in the same way that we wish to be treated.)
  • Auggie said that he cannot change how he looks, but others need to “change the way they see…”  What does he mean?
    • Each of us is a wonder, a special, unique individual who is much more than simply how we look. Each of us is different from the next person; when we talk about the differences between people--we call this diversity
    • Diversity includes many factors such as how we look, what we do, what we like, where we live, where we are from, who is in our family and much more.  People will sometimes make decisions about others based on how they look or what they do, and that is not right.  We want to recognise, appreciate and respect that each one of us is different, because we are living in a diverse


Student Response and Reflection: “Wonderful Face Story Workshop”

  • Present the children with face shapes drawn on different colours of construction paper, and an assortment of different loose parts to create their wonderful face.
  • Have children choose one face paper and select their loose parts.
  • After creating their face with the loose parts, have children represent their face on paper by drawing and colouring. 
  • Circulate to scribe each child’s “story” about their “wonderful” face on their drawing.




  • Arrange the drawing and loose parts face together at each of the children’s seats. 
  • Children will have a “gallery walk” to view all the faces and share with each other how each child is a “wonder”.

Part Five: How do I show value, respect and acceptance for differences?

Literature Selection:  Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christina Baldachinno

 Resources and Preparation:

  • white construction paper (12” x 18”)
  • tempera paint pucks
  • paint brushes
  • water containers
  • class set of pastel boxes




  • Show some articles of clothing - scarves, gloves, shoes, shirt, jacket, hat, dress.
  • Discuss who might wear the clothing, and who might like to try things on?
  • Allow the children a few minutes to try on some of the clothing.
  • Explain that clothing is one way for people to express themselves; that clothing can be worn by anyone who wants to wear it, it doesn’t have to be just for girls or just for boys.
  • Read aloud Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress.


Key Questions:

  • What does Morris enjoy most about wearing the tangerine dress?
  • Why did Becky try to take the dress off of him?  How do you think Morris felt?
  • The boys tease Morris: first they say astronauts don’t wear dresses, then they won’t sit with him at lunch because they think Morris will turn them into girls.  Why do the boys feel uncomfortable about Morris wearing a dress?
  • Morris’ tummy hurts him when he thinks about the other children’s unkind words and actions.  When has this happened to you?
  • What did Morris’ friends learn after they had been to outer space with him?
  • Morris shows great courage at the end of the story.  What did he do to stand up for himself with Becky?  How does Morris feel about himself?
  • The other children learned to accept Morris for who he is as a person, not because of the clothing he wears.  Morris knows who he is:  kind, imaginative and adventurous; and what he likes to do:  play astronaut, paint, and use his imagination.  Clothing is one way we can express ourselves, but it’s not the most important thing about us.


Student Response and Reflection: “Pastel Watercolour Resist Self-Portrait”

  • Using 12” x 18” white construction paper, ask the children to orient their paper in the portrait position.
  • Demonstrate drawing a “U” for their face with a crayon (children should try to fill the space); add ears, nose, neck lines.
  • Draw in eye shapes, adding pupils (children can ask their classmates what colour their eyes are if they do not know or remember) and eyelashes.
  • Add mouth.
  • Draw in their hair with appropriate colours.
  • Demonstrate the shoulder lines extending from the base of the neck; then add in the side lines to complete the torso; add arms (we draw rectangles on either side of the torso) and hands.
  • Children can add decorations to their shirts or tops in crayon but remind them they will be giving the drawing a watercolour wash so to leave lots of area to paint.
  • Using tempera paint pucks, encourage children to paint in the sections using the lightest colours first, before moving on to the darker colours (it helps to keep the water and their brushes a little cleaner).



  • In a sharing circle, children may share what they know to be their most special quality.

Part Six: How do I celebrate diversity?

Literature Selection:  Yoko by Rosemary Wells


Resources and Preparation:

  • a selection of items or photos from different cultures and countries - eating utensils such as chopsticks and soup spoons; textiles such as blankets and clothing; toys; handcrafted items
  • chart paper and markers



  • Display the multicultural items on a table for the children to look at and touch, if possible.
  • Where have these items come from?  
  • What do you think these items might be used for?
  • What are some of the items we use that are for the same purpose, but maybe look different or used in a slightly different way? 
  • How do you feel when you use or touch these items?
  • It is fun and interesting to look at and use items from other places, especially when they are so different from what we might use at home.  We learn a lot about other people, and how they live when we see these artifacts.  This helps us to understand and appreciate the differences between people so we can all live comfortably with each other.
  • Read aloud Yoko.


Key Questions:

  • Who has tried each of the lunch foods mentioned in the story?  
  • Which of the children’s lunches would you like to eat the most?
  • Why did the other children speak very unkindly to Yoko about her lunch and her ice cream?
  • Sometimes when people see something new or different, they are uncomfortable and say or do unkind things because they are afraid.  Although this is not an excuse, it’s an opportunity to try to understand the feelings of others by showing
  • What was Mrs. Jenkin’s idea to help Yoko so that everyone would see how exciting it is to try new foods from different cultures?
  • What are some of the foods from other countries?  Have you tried any of them?  
  • At the end of the story, Timothy tried Yoko’s sushi and he loved it, and Yoko ate one of Timothy’s coconut chips.  How do you know they are excited to try different foods?
    • Part of getting along with others is accepting each other’s differences, and that includes what we eat, who we are, where we’re from and how we live.  When we can accept and respect each other, and each other’s differences, that is when we can really celebrate our diversity!


Student Response and Reflection: “Multicultural Day Kindergarten Fun”

  • Plan a cultural event such as Chinese New Year for your class.
  • With parent support, organize five or six activity centres (eg. colouring activity, craft activity, game, food decorating, short video).
  • Put students into groups and have them rotate through activities at ten-minute intervals.
  • Afterwards, you may want to have parent volunteers provide buffet-style snacks or luncheon.



  • Have children get their lunch bags, open them, and see what they are eating for lunch. 
  • Write a list of today’s lunches to see the diversity of the food in the classroom.


  • Review the children’s brainstormed ideas from the pre-assessment charts at the beginning of this unit:

          Head - What do I know?

    • What does equal mean to me?  
    • What are some of the times people try to make things equal?
    • What does fair mean to me?  
    • What are some of the times people try to make things fair?   

          Heart - How does this make me feel?  

    • How do I feel when the little boy cannot see over the fence?
    • How do I feel when things might be equal for everyone else, but they didn’t seem fair to me?
  • Show the third chart--Feet. Now that they know (in their brain and their thoughts) the difference between equality and equity, and how they feel (in their hearts with their feelings) when things might be equal but not fair, what steps can they take so everyone’s needs are being accommodated?  The actions they take will affect other children. 
  • Project or print image on the handout “Equality and Equity”.
  • Engage the children in brainstorming what they can do (they take action with their feet) to make this situation equitable or fair. Create the last chart:

          Feet - How do my actions affect others?  

    • How has this situation been made more fair or equitable for the smallest child?
    • How do you think the smallest child feels?  How can you tell?
    • How does the adult feel with no box to stand on? 
    • What is the taller child feeling now?
  • Remind the children that just because things are equal does not mean that they are

Story Workshop: “My Space.” 

  • Using a variety of loose parts, the children can create their own inclusive place. 
  • Children may share their story through representing their work in a drawing or share orally with their classmates about what makes this space so special.


Do Unto “Otters” Signs

  • Set out a variety of craft and paper materials during Centre Time for the children to use to make signs to hang around the classroom reminding us of how to treat others. 
  • Remind the children to use their “cotton ball” words.  Have some “cotton ball” phrases printed on cards for children to copy. (“I’m sorry,” “Share toys,” “Be kind,” “Thank you,” “Please,” “You’re welcome.”)


Sharing and Special Helper Theme: Celebrating Cultural Diversity. 

  • The children may bring in several artifacts including clothing, books, toys or games, or household items, that are used in their culture. 
  • The children will share aloud during Sharing Time the name and purpose of each item. 
  • The teacher can lead a discussion about items that we use that are different but serve the same purpose.


House Corner Cultural Celebration

  • In the dramatic play/house corner of the classroom set up a variety of multicultural themes throughout the school year. For example, add Asian cooking utensils, a steamer and Asian play foods, and decorations and clothing during the weeks of the Lunar New Year.



“Deep Space Sparkle.” 2021. Deep Space Sparkle. https://www.deepspacesparkle.com


“Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS)”. 2021. PADShttps://pads.ca


“Prindle Institute for Ethics.” [n.d.] Prindle Institute for Ethicshttps://www.prindleinstitute.org


“Teaching Children Philosophy.” [n.d.] Prindle Institute for Ethicshttps://www.prindleinstitute.org/teaching-children-philosophy/


Unit Stories


Baldacchino, C. 2014. “Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress.” Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.


Howe, J. 2010. “Brontorina.” Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.


Keller, L. 2007. “Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners.” New York, NY: H. Holt.


Ljungkvist, L. 2021. “I Love Vincent.” [Brooklyn, NY]: POW! Kids Books.


Palacio, R. J. 2017. “We Are All Wonders.” New York, [NY]: Alfred A. Knopf.


Teckentrup, B. 2020. “Kindness Grows.” Wilton, CT: Tiger Tales, 2020


Additional Stories on Equity and Diversity


Clinton, H.R. [2017.] “It Takes a Village.” New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.


Fox, M. 1997. “Whoever You Are.” San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.


de la Peña, M. [2015.] “Last Stop on Market Street.” New York, NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA).


Hallinan, P. K. 2005. “A Rainbow of Friends.” Nashville, TN: Ideals Children's Books.


Hong, J. [2017]. “Lovely.” [Berkeley, CA]: Creston Books, LLC.


Woodson, J. [2018]. “The Day You Begin.” New York, NY: Nancy Paulsen Books.


Professional References


Pleshette Murphy, A. 2008. “The Secret of Play: How to Raise Smart, Healthy, Caring Kids from Birth to Age 12.” New York, NY: F A O Schwarz : DK Pub.


Rice. J.A. 2013. “The Kindness Curriculum: Stop Bullying Before It Starts.” St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.


Tarshis, N., Hendrix, R., Zweber Palmer, K. Garcia Winne, M., et al. [2016]. “We Thinkers!  Volume 1. Social Explorers.” Santa Clara, CA: Social Thinking Publishing.

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Last Reviewed

April 01, 2021

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