Cultural Identity Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Can your students distinguish between culture, ethnicity, race, and gender? This lesson plan uses a video lesson to explain each one while an activity highlights important social aspects of each.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'culture,' 'ethnicity,' 'race,' and 'gender'
  • identify the behaviors, qualities, and characteristics that contribute to culture, ethnicity, race, and gender
  • understand the importance of awareness of and sensitivity to the culture, ethnicity, race, and gender of others


  • 1.5 to 2 hours

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.


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.


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.

Key Vocabulary

  • Culture
  • Race
  • Prejudice
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender


  • 2x4 inch slips of paper, each with a different example of culture, ethnicity, race, and gender (e.g. American, Hispanic, Asian, male, and so on)
  • A bowl or other small container
  • The quiz associated with the text lesson


  • Begin by writing the following words on the board: 'culture,' 'race,' 'ethnicity,' and 'gender.'
  • Now have the class write each term on their own papers.
  • Next, ask the students to write a word to describe themselves in regards to each of the terms (e.g. gender: female). Some will be harder than others for the students and this will actually help to increase engagement as the lesson unfolds.
  • Now play the video lesson Identity and Human Grouping: Cultural, Ethnic, Racial & Gender and pause it at 1:13.
  • Review the definition of 'culture' for the class.
    • Would anyone like to share what they wrote down on their papers for culture?
    • Do these examples represent culture or do they really indicate something else?
    • What examples of different cultural affiliations can we identify in this school?
  • Play the video lesson again and pause at 2:02.
    • Would anyone like to share what they wrote down for themselves next to the word 'race?'
    • Is race always obvious or easily identified by appearance?
    • Can an individual have more than one race?
    • What examples of race can we identify in this classroom? In this school?
    • What is prejudice?
    • Why is prejudice related to race?
  • Play the video lesson again and pause this time at 2:50.
    • Who is willing to share what they have written for themselves next to the word 'ethnicity?'
    • Who wrote the same thing for culture and ethnicity?
    • Who had trouble distinguishing between the two?
    • Which one is easier to identify?
    • Can someone be of more than one ethnicity?
  • Play the rest of the video lesson for the class now.
    • Is gender as simple as male and female?
    • Is it always just about biology?
  • Complete the quiz associated with the lesson as a class, reviewing each question and answer orally before continuing.

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