Youth and Adults
College of Agricultural Sciences
Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension
Why is appreciating diversity important for youth and adults?
How can these activities boost understanding of diversity? The face of the United States and its workplace is changing. A growing number of neighborhoods and communities contain a complex mix of races, cultures, languages, and religious affiliations. At the same time, the widening gap between the rich and the poor is creating greater social class diversity. In addition, the U.S. population includes more than 43 million people with physical and mental challenges.
Learning about diversity can be fun.
The activities in this publication can help participants:
For these reasons, today’s youth and adults are more likely to face the challenges of interacting and working with people different from themselves.
The ability to relate well to all types of people in the workplace is a leadership skill that is becoming increasingly important. Understanding, accepting, and valuing diverse backgrounds can help young people and adults thrive in this ever-changing society.
Recognize how we place self-imposed limits on the way we think.
● Discover that, in many ways, people from different cultures and back- grounds hold similar values and beliefs. ● Become more aware of our own cultural viewpoints and the stereo- types we may have inadvertently picked up.
● Accept and respect the differences and similarities in people.
When and where should these activities be used?
The activities in this publication are appropriate for use by teachers, youth leaders, child care professionals, and human service professionals. While most of the activities are appropriate for older youth (middle school and above) and adults, some of the activities may be adapted for younger children.
Decsions should be based on the facilitator’s knowledge of the group’s cognitive level and needs.
Some of the activities—including
“Connect the Dots,” “First Impressions,” and “Proverbs”—can be used as discussion starters or icebreakers. Others may be the basis for an entire lesson, such as “What Do You Know or What
Have You Heard?” In either case, the facilitator should allow enough time for discussion at the end of each activity.
Debriefing is important for dealing with unresolved feelings or misunderstandings. It is equally important to conduct activities in an atmosphere of warmth, trust, and acceptance.
Connect the Dots
Participants will experience the fact that we often subconsciously limit our perspectives and alternatives.
15–30 minutes, depending on discussion. Materials:
Copies of the “Connect the Dots” handout, a pencil with an eraser for each participant, an overhead projector, and a marker.
Begin the activity by telling participants that you’d like to challenge their thinking. Pass out copies of the “Connect the Dots” handout and pencils. Ask participants to try to complete the puzzle following the directions on the handout. Ask participants who already know the solution or figure out the solution before time is called to please turn their paper over and allow the others to figure out the solution themselves.
Give participants three to five minutes to work on the problem.
Why is it that most of us did not think of going outside the boundaries to solve the problem?
At the end of that time, have participants put down their pencils. Ask if anyone has found the solution. If so, ask that person to come to the overhead projector and demonstrate the solution for the group. If no one has found the solution, draw the correct solution for the group.
Drawing outside the lines is very difficult because we are so used to our own way of thinking and our own point of view that it is hard to see other points of view. To successfully interact with people from different backgrounds and different cultures, we must…