Language Arts, Social Studies

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INFUSING EQUITY BY GENDER INTO THE CLASSROOM:
A Handbook of Classroom Practices

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THE LION AND THE MOUSE
BY: Cara Tramontano

 The overall objective of this lesson is on identifying stereotyping in behavior, as who and what are the meanings of being "strong" or being "weak" Children need to think about how they think about (even at this young age) what it means to be a strong, effective, intelligent, person, no matter his/her gender.

STANDARD: All students will be able to recognize gender bias, stereotyping, and discrimination in school materials, activities, and classroom instruction.

GRADE LEVEL: K-3, Language Arts, Social Studies

OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to recognize gender bias and stereotyping in school materials by:

  • Listing the characteristics of a lion and a mouse.
  • Rewriting the fable The Lion and the Mouse switching the roles of the two characters in the story.
  • Individually drawing a picture to go along with the newly created fable.
  • Exploring how those who are strong and more masculine do indeed need those who are smaller and more feminine.

Students will use higher order/critical thinking skills, such as comparison/contrast, induction, deduction, and constructing support.

TIME: 45 minutes

MATERIALS:

  • Kent, Jack. (1974). More Fables of Aesop. New York: Parent’s Magazine Press.
  • drawing paper and chart paper
  • crayons and black marker
  • chalkboard and chalk

PROCEDURES:

  1. The teacher will begin this lesson by asking the students to think about two animals: a lion and a mouse. The teacher will then ask the students to describe each animal listing their responses on the board. The teacher will lead this discussion about the two animals asking questions such as, "Which animal do you think is less harmful?’ "Which animal do you think is stronger?" "Which animal would you rather be? Why?" "Do you think a mouse would be a boy or a girl? Why?" "Do you think a lion would be a boy or a girl? Why?"
  2. The teacher will then read the fable The Lion and the Mouse to the students, encouraging them to keep in mind all of the ways we have described these two animals. Following the discussion about how the mouse, although much smaller, weaker, and soft-spoken, saved the life of the big, loud, strong lion, the teacher will ask questions through which students use thinking and reasoning skills.

Questions to encourage thinking skills:

  1. How are the mouse and the lion alike? (list)
  2. How are they different?
  3. What are the differences that are important to this story?
  4. Can you think of people who have these characteristics? (list)
  5. How do you feel about people who are big and loud? Are these people always male?
  6. How do you feel about people who are small and soft-spoken? Are these people always female?
  7. How did the mouse save the lion?
  8. What did the mouse have to do BEFORE he/she saved the lion? Did the mouse have to do any thinking? If so, what kind of thinking?
  9. How are you like the lion? Like the mouse? Why do you think this way?
  1. Think about how this fable could be changed if the lion saved the mouse’s life. The teacher will explain to the students that they will rewrite Aesop’s fable to make the lion help the mouse, or they can write a story about how they could/would same someone, even though they are "small" people. If using this lesson with younger children, the teacher can write the story on chart paper while the children dictate it. For older students, individual stories can be written.
  2. To close this lesson, the teacher will read to the children their newly created story, or individual stories can be shared with partners.
  3. If time permits, the students will be allowed to create illustrations for their new fable.

EVALUATION: Students should be evaluated on their understanding that the qualities of a lion and a mouse are related to male and female characteristics. Also, they should be evaluated on their recreation of the fable The Lion And the Mouse.

EXTENDED ACTIVITIES: Issues such as what if the lion was in a wheelchair and/or blind or if the mouse spoke a different language can be discussed. More stories can be rewritten to go along with such situations as these or any others.

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Language Arts, Social Studies