Our Groups of Friends

In this activity, students examine the diversity of their groups of friends.
Grade Level

First, in the graphic organizer, have students write 5 names of their friends, and then list 5 adults they know. 

At the top of the first column, have students write “Race.” Then they place an S next to each friend who has the same race they identify with and a D for friends who are of a different race. They may not necessarily know how their friends identify themselves; the point is how they perceive their friends. Then they should repeat for the adults: S for same race, D for different race.

In the second column have students write “Age.” Then they place an S for each friend whose age is within one year of theirs and a D if the age difference is more than a year. For the adults, the age difference needs to be greater than five years to be marked as different. Again, they may base their S’s and D’s on their own perceptions.

Label the third column “Gender,” the fourth column “Socioeconomic Class” and the fifth column “Religion.” Have the students continue to mark S and D, based on their perceptions. There is one extra column for the class to decide another identity to include and to compare and contrast.

When they finish, hold a discussion using some of these guiding prompts:

Count your S’s and D’s and the adults’ S’s and D’s. Whose friends are more diverse? Why might that be?

In what way are your friends most diverse? Least diverse? What about the adults? Why might this be?

Why is it valuable to have friends who share your identities? Why would you want to have friends who are of the same age or gender?

Why is it valuable to have friends who don’t share your identities? Why would you want a friend who’s older or who belongs to a different religion?

Do you talk about these aspects of identity with your family and friends? For example, do you discuss what it means to be middle class or Muslim or 15 years old?

Lauren Porosoff
Fieldston Middle School
Bronx, N.Y.


This activity addresses the following standards using the Common Core State Standardsfor English Language Arts: CCSS SL.1, R.7

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