Overview: In this lesson students will be prompted to think deeply about the various elements of their individual identity. Using the identity flower model as a guide, students will explore how these different elements develop and change over time, how they are influenced by cultural factors, and how they combine to make up a larger self-image.
Time: 30 minutes
Activity (Methodology): Worksheet
- Identity Flower Worksheet (one per student)
- Writing utensil (one per student)
Applicable Content Areas: Applicable content areas include those that have a strong emphasis of self- or cultural reflection. This activity is also applicable to school clubs who may address similar topics.
After this lesson, students will be able to:
• Identify at least 5 different elements of their individual identity.
• Describe how past experiences such as their background or culture have shaped their identity.
Getting Started: Teacher to pass out Identity Flower Worksheet to each student.
1. Begin by explaining to students that identity, or the way we see ourselves, is often impacted by our past experiences and various cultural elements. Just like a flower is made up of many distinct petals, our identities are also made up of different elements such as our background, culture, race, and ethnicity.
2. Next, direct student’s attention towards the identity flower worksheet. Instruct students that the top flower is labeled with various broad categories that make up a person’s larger identity and will be serve as a guide for students to complete the blank flower at the bottom of the page.
3. Provide students 5-7 minutes to fill in the various elements of their own personal identity using the top flower’s categories as a guide. For example, if the top flower petal says Race, students should fill in however they identify their race (i.e., African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Hispanic… etc.). OR if the top petal says Gender Identity, students should fill in their preferred pronouns (i.e., Female- she/her, Male- he/him, Non Binary-they/them…etc.).
NOTE: This is a very personal and reflective activity. To encourage open and honest engagement with the activity, be sure to let students know that they will not have to share their answers aloud (unless they want to) or turn in their worksheets. It may also to ensure that students are spaced appropriately to provide some degree of privacy.
4. After time is up, continue to the discussion/follow-up section to begin debriefing the activity.
Discussion/Follow-up: This short lesson is intended to demonstrate the complexity of an individual’s identity. In some cases, students may have overlapping answers, however it is also likely that they have very different answers in other areas. Consider using the following questions to prompt a dialogue:
• How would you describe the experience of defining your identity in this way?
• What factors influenced what you wrote down on your identity flower? Give an example.
• How do you think your responses compare to your peers? Explain.
• How and why might the elements of your identity change over time?
Virtual Implementation: This activity can easily be replicated virtually having students complete the worksheet asynchronously via a Flip Grid video. Then, students can respond to the debrief questions with their own video, perhaps evening commenting on others’ posts to simulate dialogue and classroom engagement.
Content Area Extensions: As an extension to this activity, you may consider having students interview their parents or family members (or perhaps complete the same identity flower worksheet) to see how their answers compare to your students. Incorporating this extension may encourage students to make a deeper connection between how family values and relationship have influenced their identity specifically.