Equity Literacy Project


Over a stark black backdrop, a vertically standing sewing needle rest in the center of the image. The eye of the needle is above center and slightly rotated, exposing the opening. A collection of colorful threads flow through the eye of the needle and cascades diagonally down and out of the image on both sides, creating a triangular shape. The words Materials and Activities are captioned at the top of the image in white outlined text over the black backdrop.


The purpose of this section is to further assist educators and/or students with equitable classroom practices through different activities, materials, and discussions. The materials and activities included in this chapter are divided into two categories, general or specific based on the corresponding units of the Equity Literacy Project with a recommended age group range, and the discussion questions are geared toward educators, students or both.

Each activity includes a short description and how it may be used. These can be modified according to class size and age group.


Gender Unicorn – TSER (specific for Gender and Sexuality)

  • The gender unicorn introduces students to concepts related to gender and sexuality by reflecting on their own identities. A strength of the gender unicorn is that it allows a person, regardless of their identities, to indicate the degree to which they identify with various labels and attractions, rather than simply checking boxes.
  • It is appropriate for some middle school, high school, and college students.


Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (general, could be linked to privilege?)

  • Originally written by Peggy McIntosh, a white feminist author, this activity prompts individuals to reflect on specific areas of privilege they may experience. McIntosh’s earliest version of the activity was intended for white feminists to reflect on how, despite their experiences of sexism, they nevertheless held privileges when it comes to race.
  • The specific list can be modified for any or multiple dimensions of identity, such as nationality, religion, and sexual orientation.
  • This exercise is appropriate for educators and high school students.



Inequality.org has been tracking inequality-related news and views for nearly two decades. A project of the Institute for Policy Studies since 2011, their site aims to provide information and insights for readers ranging from educators and journalists to activists and policy makers.Inequality.org contributors come from the United States and around the world. Their focus throughout: What can we do to narrow the staggering economic inequality that so afflicts us in almost every aspect of our lives?

Cultural Iceburg

The iceberg analogy of culture is highly referenced as it illustrates how much of culture is invisible and intangible. It also demonstrates that values and beliefs are deeply set. Please keep in mind that the cultural iceberg, like any analogy, is limited as the image is fixed but culture is actually dynamic.


10 Ways to Improve Inclusion Outside the Classroom  Inclusive Education Activity

The Inclusion Lab offers practical tips and guides to screening tools and curricula that can be used by educators to welcome, reach, and include all learners (offered by Brookes Publishing, Baltimore, Maryland).

5 Types of Instructional Adaptations for Your Inclusive Classroom

This resource provides teachers with information about the universal design for learning (UDL) with ways to help each student become successful by assessing the environment, instructional arrangement, methods and materials, process/task, and personal assistance.


Social Identity Pie Chart Activity


Starts with Ted Talk, “What are the dangers of a single story?” by Chimamanda Adichie

  • Helps participants gain self-awareness regarding their social identities and how their personal identity characteristics may influence interactions with others who do not share their racial background
  • Helps participants identity characteristics may influence our beliefs, values, attitudes, perceptions, and interactions.
  • Highlights the influence of power in intercultural interactions
  • Was created for UConn students but can be adapted for any school


Disability Awareness Activity Packet (created by DVUSD in Phoenix, AZ can be adapted for different grade levels)
Includes basic information, awareness activities, and resource list for:

  • Autism
  • Communication Disorders
  • Hearing Impairments
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Vision Impairments
  • Disability in the Media


Educational Lessons and Activities for Students with Learning Disabilities

Statistics, lessons and activities, and resources to help educators work with students with learning disabilities provided by Regis College of Boston


Six Classroom Activities to Spark Discussion of Racism and Privilege

ASCD Inservice blog post submitted by Alexis Anderson covering teaching and school counseling at 2U Inc.

  • Bias Quiz: The online Implicit test, developed by psychologists from Harvard, the University of Washington, and the University of Virginia.
  • The Sneeches: This updated version of Elliott’s 1968 experiment uses the Dr. Seuss book to divide students into favored star-belly Sneetches and unprivileged plain-belly Sneetches.
  • Watch that Ad: Analyzing advertising is a great way to make students aware of stereotypes, racism, and sexism. A popular example is a 2017 Dove campaign that seemed to equate white skin with cleanness. Ball State University suggests studying these ads and offers instructions for discussion.
  • Microaggressions: This term refers to teasing and joking based on gender, ethnicity, and other stereotypes. These exercises examine the beliefs behind such expressions as, “that’s so gay” or, “Why are all black women so loud” to consider the bias and possible interpretations behind microaggressions.
  • Film Festival: This playlist from the George Lucas Educational Foundation lists brief videos to spark discussion about racism and perceptions.
  • Labels: Your students may learn powerful lessons about their own bigotry through labeling photos.


Classroom exercises: inclusion of Socioeconomic status in psychology curricula

APA has curated many activities for increasing awareness around social class and socioeconomic issues in six categories: attitudes; discrimination; income; oppression; privilege; properties and resources that can be utilized in a variety of disciplines.

Social Class Exploration

This list of reflective questions enables students to think about some of the specific material and experiential manifestations of socioeconomic status. It may be used for journaling. If used for discussion, setting up some guidelines so that students can share openly information that may be sensitive.

Penn State Diversity Activities for Kids and Adults

While most of the activities are appropriate for older youth (middle school and above) and adults, some of the activities may be adapted for younger children. Decisions should be based on the facilitator’s knowledge of the group’s cognitive level and needs.

Minimum Wage Activities

Discussing minimum wage, alongside articles, stories, and facts about minimum wage in the U.S., can encourage students to combine math and social studies, even with some practical budgeting-type thoughts. For example, students could watch 30 Days: Living on Minimum Wage, in which a couple spends 30 days trying to get by on minimum wage, and try to develop their own budgets with minimum wage, using costs specific to their town or neighborhood. In high school economics or history courses, students could also chart local, state, and federal effects of changing wages to practice using evidence to support a political position.

Discussion Questions

General Audience

  • How do you stay aware of and or involved with current social justice issues? How do you evaluate media sources for bias and/or identify sources that present more balanced perspectives?
  • What educational and/or experiential opportunities have allowed you to expand your awareness of diverse cultural experiences and perspectives?
  • Have you experienced or observed inequities personally or as a close ally? If so, how have those experiences/observations grown your awareness?
  • In what areas related to equity do you feel you have the most opportunity for growth in awareness?
  • What do we mean when we talk about equity? What topics come to mind and how do you define equitable practices?
  • Why do you think there is resistance to challenging inequities? Who benefits from maintaining the status quo (or the way things are)?
  • What are some ways to help promote an understanding, acceptance, and valuing of diversity?


Questions for Educators 

  • What equitable practices do you already implement in your classrooms, and how do they benefit your students? [general, educators]
  • What do you see as hurdles or hindrances to implementing culturally competent practices in your classroom and/or school?
  • What do you see as the supports in place for implementing culturally competent practices in your classroom and/or school?
  • Is there a team or committee in your school that looks at equity issues in your school? If so, are you on it and why? If not, why not and why?
  • What are the demographics of your school for both students and staff? Do you detect any disparities in regard to race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, etc.? Why do the inequities exist?
  • What is the history of your school and the community it is in regarding issues of inequity?
  • Describe your interpretation of the relationship between the school and the larger community.
  • What do you feel is the role of your school when considering social reconstructivism?


Questions for Students

  • How has schooling shaped your thinking in ways that limit and expand your awareness?
  • What types of experiences have served to significantly open your mind to a new understanding of diverse perspectives?
  • When you have been concerned about inequities you have observed or experienced, have you felt safe to express those concerns? Why or why not?
  • What could be done to create more safety for students to express concerns about inequities to classmates, teachers, administrators, parents, and the community?
  • How can you seek out additional opportunities to expand your awareness within and outside of school?
  • How do you see yourself represented in your school experiences? What do representations of people like you look like? How does it feel when you are represented in different ways?




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Equity Literacy Project Copyright © 2021 by Harper College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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