Beacon Lesson Plan Library

You Do Judge a Book by Its Cover

Patricia Morres
Santa Rosa District Schools


After viewing several magazine pictures of different types of people, students recognize how much we stereotype.


The student identifies biases and stereotypes in a nonprint message.


- Magazines
-Pictures of males dressed in different styles
-Pictures of females dressed in different styles
-List of questions for students to answer about each picture
-Poster board
-Tape or glue sticks


1. Obtain magazines .(Teen oriented or [People] magazines are good.)
2. Provide poster board, markers, tape and or glue sticks.
3. Write the questions on the board or prepare a handout of the questions.


1.Explain to students that they will be participating in a group activity.

2. Do not allow students to choose their own groups; instead give every student a number one through five and place all the one's together, all the two's together and so forth. If group numbers are uneven, level them out. Instruct the groups to look at the magazines provided and each group should cut out pictures of four males and four females.These pictures should represent athletes, professionals, anti-establishment dress styles and casually dressed individuals. Instruct groups to answer the following questions based only on what they can observe from the picture:
-Is this individual wealthy?
- Is he or she dependable?
-Does this individual like to party?
-Would this person help a friend in need?
-Does this person enjoy belonging to organizations?
-Is this person a leader?
-Is this person college educated or college bound?
-Is this person intelligent?
-Does this person like stock car racing?
-What type of music do you think this person enjoys?
-Would this person steal?
-Is this person open-minded?
(Questions can be on an overhead, the board, or a chart.)

3. After students have answered their questions about each individual, they should place the pictures of their individuals on the posters provided for each group and come up with a short profile on each individual. Instructions: In your profile write a paragraph or two where you give your individual an occupation, a personality and some character traits (for example,give your character an occupation, a personality and state how honest or dishonest you think this person would be based on their physical appearance) on each person.

4. Instruct the students to look up the definition of -stereotyping- in the dictionary. One group member should record the defintion.. Students should then look at their profiles and discuss whether or not they were guilty of stereotyping .

5. At the end of this discussion each group should report on how we judge individuals.


Assess the groups using the following guidelines:
-Students were able to choose four males and four females with different appearances for the purpose of profiling them.
-After defining stereotyping, students were able to see how they judged their individuals by their appearances. Group reports can be used for this purpose.
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