Discussing the Topic of Equality

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SWBAT access prior knowledge by discussing equality as they currently understand it.

Big Idea

Equality--what is it? How do we know? Why does it matter?


This lesson is an introduction to the theme for our next unit; while it features discussion, the focus is less on the skills of discussion and more on the theme itself.

In addition, this lesson is somewhat shorter than the average lesson--the start of our last quarter brought changes to some school policies which stole the first portion of the class period. However, the lesson could easily take a full 45 minutes depending on discussion; I've certainly known it to take longer than listed here in past classes.

Equality QuickWrite

10 minutes

I start this lesson by asking students to write for 10 minutes about equality. I give them a few starter questions but explain that they are welcome to build off the questions or take the quickwrite in another line so long as it relates to the topic of equality. Varied perspectives will lead to good discussion.

I post the following questions on the board as a guide for students:

  • What is equality?
  • What does equality look like?
  • How has equality appeared in our national history?
  • Why does equality matter?

Students write in silence as they prepare for discussion.


20 minutes

From our quickwrite, we move into whole class discussion, in which students call on one another to build or disagree. I simply map who speaks and how they add to the discussion as a record of participation.

Unfortunately, our method is lacking today:

Still, the content of the discussion is high quality. Students consider:

  • the inherent differences between people and how they impact equality
  • the crossroad of equality and opportunity
  • how work ethic influences equality
  • human rights
  • perspective
  • the creation of inequality and equality as human concepts
  • human nature

At the start to a unit which will delve into the depths of equality in America, students show a good understanding of the complexity of the subject.