Quick Links

Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Main Navigation


Civil Rights

Sub Navigation


Home > breadcrumbs: Resources > breadcrumbs: History Grant Lesson Plans > breadcrumbs: Civil Rights >


Ajax Loading Image



August 15, 2013



Activity on Generalizations and Stereotypes



The aim of this activity is for students to understand the relationship between generalizations and stereotypes within their homes, classrooms, and communities.



  • One lemon for every four to five students for Part I
  • Different fruit (banana, kiwi, etc.), for each small group for Part II. You could also use vegetables.
  • Enough space to divide the students into the groups so they can speak without disturbing other groups.
  • Poster paper; smart board.


Class time:  Can be done in one session, 45-50 minutes.



  1. Put all lemons out on a table where everyone can see them. Ask students to describe the characteristics of a lemon (round, yellow, sour, etc.).   Students should try to use as many descriptions as possible.


  1. Divide students into small groups and give each group a lemon.  Can use some method of dividing the students by numbers, height, birthday months, etc.  Ensures groups are random, not by popularity.


3.   Ask students to get to know their lemon by studying it and noticing all its special characteristics. They cannot mark or alter their lemon in any way. They can give their lemon a name, create a story about their lemon or do anything that helps them characterize their lemon.  The point is for them to start to see the lemon as an individual.  Students can write on a piece of paper the characteristics. 


4.   After a short time, have someone from each group tell the large group about their lemon.


5.   Collect all the lemons and mix them up. Ask one person from each group to come up and pick out "their" lemon. (This should not be a problem since they've gotten to know their lemon as unique and individual.)



Why was it easy for you to identify your lemon?


Have you ever had certain ideas about someone that changed once you got to know him or her? (These ideas may be stereotypes.)


Has someone ever had certain ideas about you that changed once they got to know you?


Why can stereotypes be harmful?





6.   Distribute a different fruit to each group, a pomegranate, a papaya, a kiwi, a banana, etc.


7.   Tell the students that these new fruits will be moving into their formerly mono-cultural Lemon Land. Each group will have five minutes to decide whether to accept or reject the "outsider" fruit. They are to create a story/role play about their decision which will be presented to the whole group.


8.   Each group will have two minutes to present their skit or rationale for accepting or rejecting their "foreign" fruit.


Discussion Questions:

What did you decide about letting the "outsider" fruit in?  Was the group in consensus or were there objectors?


Have you ever been a “kiwi” in a lemon world? How did you handle it?


Who are the "outsiders" in your school? Community? Home?


What are some of the ways we make people feel unwelcome? How can we help people feel welcome in our community?  Please respond in relationship to your community.


Following up

Have students propose ways of making people welcome specifically within their own building at the school.


How can they, not the adults, make people welcome in the community? 


Can you think of a time in history or within your life time, situations like this happening?

 How did you respond to it?

 Was the outcome a good experience or bad experience?





Author:  Georgette Norman, Troy University, Montgomery, Ala.

Modifications:  Roger Ball, Aurora Junior High, Aurora, Mo.

Back To Top