To Kill a Mockingbird

Student Activity #10

Investigating the Theme

Prejudice is one of the key themes in To Kill a Mockingbird. Although the novel is set in the American South during the 1930's, recognizing and working to resolve prejudice is as important an issue today as it was during the period of To Kill a Mockingbird.

People experience discrimination when they are denied their rights as a result of prejudice. In To Kill a Mockingbird, racial prejudice is the basis for the discrimination that Tom Robinson and other African-Americans in the novel experience. Prejudice and discrimination can be based on ethnic, religious, social, economic, age, gender, or other differences.

In this activity, you will:

* Use the Web to define the terms: prejudice and discrimination

* Identify examples of prejudice and discrimination in To Kill a Mockingbird

* Explore examples of prejudice and discrimination in U.S. history

* Reflect on the issue of prejudice and discrimination within your own life

Defining Your Terms Activity

Instructions:

1) Click here to access Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary to help you define the terms: prejudice & discrimination

2) After you have studied the definitions of the terms, use a separate sheet of paper to create your own definitions to share in class.

Prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird Activity

Instructions:

Working with a partner, record at least two specific examples of prejudice from the novel. Rather than citing a general term like "racial prejudice,"give a specific incident. After you have completed your record, share the results with the class. For each item in your record, include the following pieces of information:

1) The specific example of prejudice.

2) The characters involved.

3) At what point in the novel's plot the example occurs.

4) The effect of the incident on the characters & plot.

Challenge Step:

Make a class chart displaying the collected examples of prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Discrimination in To Kill a Mockingbird Activity

Instructions:

Working with a partner, record at least two specific examples of discrimination from the novel. Again, be sure to cite a specific incident. After you have completed your record, share the results with the class. For each item in your record, include the following pieces of information:

1) The specific example of discrimination.

2) The characters involved.

3) At what point in the novel's plot the example occurs.

4) The effect of the incident on the characters & plot.

Challenge Step:

Make a class chart displaying the collected examples of discrimination in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Prejudice & Discrimination in American History Activity

To Kill a Mockingbird depicts racial prejudice and discrimination in the American South during the Great Depression. But racial prejudice and discrimination have played a role in American history beyond the time period of the novel. The Civil Rights movement has led the effort to eliminate this type of prejudice and discrimination in America.

Instructions:

Use the following Web site to take a virtual fieldtrip through the Civil Rights Museum and learn more about the history of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.

1) Click here for an Interactive Tour of the Civil Rights Museum

2) Identify the beginnings of the American Civil Rights movement.

3) Identify one important leader of the Civil Rights movement (note where and when he/she was born and what his/her most important contributions to the movement have been).

4) Explain at least 1 successful action organized and carried out by the Civil Rights movement to achieve fair treatment for African-Americans (identify key people involved, when and where the incidents took place, and what the effects were).

5) Share your findings with the class.

Challenge Step:

Work with a partner to make a multimedia presentation (using PowerPoint, HyperStudio, or other program) to share your findings with the class. Your presentation should include the following information:

Major figures of the Civil Rights movement

Major achievements of the Civil Rights movement

When and where important actions of the Civil Rights movement took place

Identify Local Examples of Prejudice & Discrimination Activity

Even if you haven't experienced prejudice or discrimination yourself, you may know others who have. People may also recognize prejudice and discrimination practiced against others.

Instructions:

In a team of 3, brainstorm different types of prejudice and discrimination you have experienced or observed, then formulate suggestions to help reduce and eliminate this type of prejudice among your peers.

1) List as many types of prejudice your group can think of.

2) Identify at least 1 example you have experienced or witnessed for each type of prejudice on your group's list.

3) Identify when and where these examples of prejudice or discrimination occurred.

4) Identify who was involved in these examples of prejudice or discrimination.

5) Describe what effects these examples of prejudice or discrimination have on you and on others.

6) Suggest at least 1 practical step you can take to help reduce or eliminate prejudice among your peers.

Challenge Step:

Make a class chart displaying the collected examples of prejudice and discrimination from your group work. Color code the types of examples collected to determine which are the most common examples of prejudice or discrimination among your experiences or observations. Be sure to include your practical suggestions to help remedy the problem.

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