Social Stratification Lesson Plan

Instructor: Della McGuire

Della has been teaching secondary and adult education for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Sociology, MEd in Reading, and is ABD on the MComm in Storytelling.

In this lesson plan, students will compare factors that contribute to their own social status and that influence their privilege. After watching an informative video lesson, students will look at these factors of social stratification through the lens of one of three social theories.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson plan, students will be able to:

  • Understand and describe the three primary perspectives on social stratification.
  • Examine their own social status position in comparison to classmates.
  • Evaluate data comparing social status position to sociological theories.


1 hour

Curriculum Standards


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


Represent data on two quantitative variables on a scatter plot, and describe how the variables are related.


Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest. (Extension)

Vocabulary and Phrases

  • Symbolic Interaction
  • Conflict Theory
  • Structural Functionalism



  • Begin the video Social Stratification: Definition, Theories & Examples, pausing at 1:11. Ask students what are some examples of social stratification they can see:
    • their own lives? (family power dynamics)
    • their school? (cliques or social status)
    • the community? (neighborhoods as indicators of wealth inequality)
    • the nation? (policies and legislation that mitigate or exacerbate stratification)
  • Resume the video and pause at 2:38 to discuss Structural Functionalism and the Davis-Moore thesis.
  • After a brief discussion, begin the video again, pausing at 4:44 to discuss Conflict Theory, Marx and Weber.
  • Begin the video again and pause at 5:45 to discuss Symbolic Interaction and Conspicuous Consumption.
  • At the end of the video, ask students which of the theories most closely resembles the student's worldview.
  • Allow them to ask any questions they have.
  • Pass out the lesson quiz to assess understanding.


  • Ask the students to consider which of the social theories they most agree with or relate to (Symbolic Interaction, Conflict Theory, Structural Functionalism). Have them write it down on a scrap of paper and set it aside.
  • Give each of the students points to start with, using the following scale:

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