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May 01, 2014

Different Treatment for Different Folks

Grade Level:

Middle School


The lesson begins with an illustration of the “separate but equal” doctrine – two water fountains are depicted, one labeled “colored” and the other labeled “white”. Students will discuss how this doctrine was used to justify separate treatment based on race, and that such a policy would not be legal today. They will be presented with a list of situations involving separate treatment of two groups, and should take a stance as to whether each is legal or not. The lesson concludes by having students explain their justifications for their stances, and then providing them with the criteria used by our courts to determine if different treatment of groups is legal or not.  

Time needed:

~ 1 hour


Materials required:

Different Treatment for Different Folks Lesson Plan


National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, National Council for the Social Studies:

Theme 6: Power, Authority, and Governance

Theme 10: Civic Ideals and Practices