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The “Colors of Us” are compared to food in this similar/different diversity lesson


Social Studies  


K, 1, 2  


Title – Diversity: Concepts of Similar and Different
By – Sara Jones
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Grade Level – K-2

(Note: “The Colors of Us” is a fun, positive book about 7-year-old Lena & her mom observing differences in the skin color of their friends. It compares skin colors to foods such as peanut butter, honey, cinnamon, peaches, chocolate, etc. )


To help children appreciate diversity among their peers.


  • Katz, K., The Colors of Us . New York: Henry Holt and Company.
  • Paints
  • Paper to paint on


  • Discuss what “similar” & “different” means. Elicit that similar basically means “alike”, different means “not the same”.
  • Teacher asks – What are some things that make you similar / different to other children?
  • Teacher can write a list of what the children say on the board. Discuss with the children that people can be similar and/or different in their heights, hair length, their strengths, shape of face, nose, mouth, ears, eyes, ages, likes, dislikes, language spoken, etc. Everyone needs food, water, sleep, etc.

    Development of Lesson:

    1. Teacher – reads the book The Colors of Us aloud. Ask questions while reading such as:

        a) What do we see on the cover?

        b) How old is Lena? Why does Lena say she is the color of cinnamon?

        c) Has anyone ever mixed paints before? Is it true there are lots of different shades of brown?

        d) Why is Lena’s mother bringing her to all these places to see these people?

        e) Does Sonia’s skin color look like the color of creamy peanut butter to you?

        f) Why does Lena say to her mother “look Mom, the colors of us”?

        g) Does it matter to Lena that she and all her friends have different color skin?

      h) What food would describe your skin color?

    2. Activity: Children are to get into groups of four. Give each group a copy of the pictures of the characters from the book. Each child should choose two characters and write a letter to Lena telling her why you think you are similar to the two characters and also why you think you are different than those two characters.

    3. Activity: Pair students facing each other. Children will mix paints and paint a picture of their partner’s face on paper. Teacher goes around to each pair and discusses how small differences in hair, eyes, ears, skin color gives us individuality. However, basically we all are similar. Just a few drops more or less of a certain color paint and we have a different skin tone. Hang the pictures in the classroom.

    4. Activity: Each child places one hand on a piece of paper. Children trace their hand, match a paint tone closest to their skin color, and paint the traced outline of their hand. The children cut out the hand and then arrange the hands from darkest to lightest.


    Cut out pictures from a magazine or newspaper of two people who you think look different. Write a sentence telling why you think these two people could be different and write another sentence telling why you think these two people could be similar.

    Tomorrow, the children will share the pictures and responses with the class.

    E-Mail Sara Jones !

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