Beacon Lesson Plan Library

I Am the Lucky One

Judith Bachay


Students explore their birth orders and the stress created from them. Then they identify their birth orders by drawing pictures of themselves and listing their birth orders. They are introduced to the concept of survey and conduct a verbal survey.


The student knows and uses stress-management skills.

The student designs appropriate questions for a survey.


-Book: Drescher, Joan. [The Birth Order Blues]. New York: Penguin Books, 1993.
-Crayons or markers
-Drawing paper
-Multicolored balloons (optional)
-Tape (optional)


1. Social psychologist Alfred Adler originated birth order theory. Teachers may be interested in exploring these ideas and how birth order may impact behavior. (See Weblinks)
2. For this lesson, choose an excerpt from the book, [The Birth Order Blues], to share with students. You may need to just summarize the rest of the information contained in the book.
3. Gather materials.


1. Tell students: We are going to read a story about a newspaper reporter named Millicent who wants to find out how kids feel about their birth order. (Explain what “birth order” means.) She was curious about how kids feel about being oldest, youngest, middle or the only child. She suspected that everyone would complain about their place in the family. How do you think she found out the information from her friends? Millicent conducted a survey. A survey answers questions. Let's survey our learning community now. How many of you are oldest children? (middle, youngest, only) (Option: Give only children a red balloon to blow up and tape to their desks, first children a blue one, second children a yellow one, etc. If you don't feel that your students can handle the balloons at this point in the lesson, skip using them or give them out to take home. If you use the balloons, relate it back to the story--a rainbow of balloons.)

2. Post results of the class survey on the board and discuss with students. Tell students: The author asked four of her friends the same questions and discovered their ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Let's read the story and see what we can learn about each other. (Read book article aloud to students. Allow for comments and questions.)

3. Lead a discussion about the stress caused by birth order (jealousy, feeling threatened, intimidation, finding it hard to share attention or belongings, difficult handling conflicts) and methods of coping (talking it out, sharing, helping, solving conflicts in a peaceful way). List these on the board and make sure that students can read the words and give examples of them.

4. Direct students to make pictures of themselves and identify their birth orders.

5. For homework, instruct students to interview two of their friends or adult relatives. Explain: This is a way of gathering information called a survey. Ask your friends or relatives to tell you their birth order, any stress caused by birth order, and the ways they have of handling it in a helpful manner. Allow students to copy the words on the board to help them when gathering their survey information. Show them an example of how they can record it. Use your own birth order, etc. as an example. Have students write down the names of the two people they will interview and the specific questions they will ask. All students should not have the same questions. NOTE: Remind students to choose someone who lives with them or someone they can call for the information. Circulate and make sure questions are appropriate.

6. The next day, ask students to report their data. Collect questions and answers for assessment.

7. Keep an informal tally so as to point out any trends that appear. For example, there are only a few “only” children, look how many people said jealousy is a stress because of their birth order, etc. Be sure to list any stress management techniques gleaned from the survey.

8. Draw the lesson to a close by emphasizing the stress management techniques offered. Ask students to look at their pictures drawn yesterday and to write down three techniques from the survey results that they might try when stressed. You may need to use the chart from yesterday.


1. Students identify their birth orders by drawing pictures of themselves and listing their birth orders.

2. Students survey two friends or adults and submit the survey data. Assess the questions that students created to answer. They should ask something about birth order or stress management.

3. Students list three stress management techniques that they would like to try. Make sure all are appropriate for this age student.

Note: A rubric is located in the associated file for assessment criteria. This is a formative assessment and students may need additional practice in gathering survey data or choosing appropriate stress management techniques.


1. Students can replicate Millicent's survey and make a chart to report findings.
2. Students can write a story about what it would be like to change places with a member of the family (p.32).
3. Allow students to design questions for additional surveys.
4. Allow students to suggest additional stress management techniques they can use.

Web Links

Web supplement for I Am the Lucky One
Birth Order

Attached Files

This is a rubric to use in assessment.     File Extension: pdf

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