Birth Order Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan provides ideas for teachers whose students are learning about birth order. Students will watch a video lesson and then create a radio broadcast that explains the Adlerian theory of birth order.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain Adler's theory on inferiority and superiority
  • Describe how birth order impacts individuals
  • Differentiate between the 5 birth order positions according to Adler


This lesson will take approximately 45-90 minutes.

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


  • birth order
  • inferiority complex
  • superiority complex

Lesson Instructions

Activate prior knowledge by asking students to turn and talk to a partner about their own birth order and how they believe it impacts them.

Watch Birth Order and the Inferiority Complex According to Adler. Pause at 2:23 to ask:

  • Describe Adlerian theory.
  • What are some typical behaviors exhibited by people with an inferiority complex?
  • What are some typical behaviors exhibited by people with a superiority complex?
  • What causes inferiority/superiority complex?

Watch the remainder of the lesson with students.

Have students create a two-column chart that is labeled: birth position, characteristics. Under birth position, students will write: oldest, second of only two, middle, youngest, and only. For each birth position, students will define the position and describe typical characteristics of children in that birth order.

Use the printable worksheet to check for understanding.

Radio Broadcast

Materials needed: computer/internet/microphone/speaker

Divide students into five small groups based on birth order.

Have students discuss and research Adler's theory on their birth order.

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