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Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
Fair Share for Our Schools: A Multidisciplinary Curriculum: Introducing Equity and Equality: Lesson One
View the Short Video: Campaign for Fiscal Equality: Students Speak Out

This lesson begins the discussion of equity and fairness in an early education classroom. Use suitable materials for your students.

Students will

  • Develop a definition of equality (even distribution).
  • Problem solve situations of distribution.
  • Discuss and recognize difference in opinion.

-Small tangible items, such as marbles or crayons as well as grapes. Have at least 2 per student but not necessarily an even amount.
-Chart paper
-White paper for each student

1. Introduce ideas of equity and equality. Here are some talking points: “In class, we often talk about fairness. Sometimes I hear someone say, ‘That’s not fair!’ Today we are going to talk about what fairness means by using two big new words: Equity and Equality. Those are pretty big words. Let’s work together to come up with what those words mean.”


2. Place the small items in a bowl, and show them to the students. “I have many ____ in a bowl.” Ask students: “How should I give these out? How many should each student get? What would be fair?”

3. Write suggestions on the board. Try some of the methods of distribution. Ask students: “What should I do with the leftovers? Who should get them?”

4. After an even distribution, discuss with your students that this is equality. Each person in the class gets an even amount. Equality is sameness.

Group work

5. Give each group a bowl of small items and ask them to distribute the item equally.

6. Ask one student to record or draw how the items are given out.


7. Students share how they distributed items.


Evaluate student understand through presentation of group work and through independent inquiry.

To Lesson 2

Subject Areas:
Social Justice

Grade Levels:  K-2

About the teacher:

Karyn Wynn is a first grade teacher at P.S. 204 in the South Bronx. In her third year teaching, Karyn builds a community classroom with her students, emphasizing team work, building self esteem and celebrating every student accomplishment. As the lead first grade teacher at her school, Karyn collaborates with her collegues to integrate and differential curriculum across the grade. A recent, Teaching Fellow graduate, Karyn holds a Masters in Education from Mercy College. Karyn in still involved in the Teaching Fellow Advisory Board, supporting their mission to recruit and train new teachers to serve high need areas. Participating in the Teacher's College Writing Project this year, Karyn hopes to create a more dynamic writing workshop, as well as, developing a love of literacy in her classroom. It is this area of study which Karyn hopes to further investigate in her teacher research project thought the Teachers Network Leadership Institute fellowship. When Karyn is not teaching, she loves to travel, cook and read.





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