Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi
Communities
Schools

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:


You are here:

Similarities and differences

Making a class korowai | Mirror, mirror, on the wall | Similarities and differences

Suggested learning outcome

Students will describe some of their own and others' genetic characteristics and identify similarities and differences (2C2).

Underlying concepts

Hauora (particularly taha tinana): Accepting the diversity of physical characteristics and the impact that this has on well-being.

Attitudes and values: Valuing similarities and differences in themselves and others.

Possible learning activities

The following three activities provide three ways of looking at similarities and differences. Select the activity that is most appropriate for your students.

The genetic wheel

Explain to the students that our basic appearance is inherited from our parents, who themselves inherited genes from their parents, as they did from their parents, so that we are a unique combination of the characteristics of people who came before us in our families. Discuss how some of these characteristics are quite easy to see. To show how we are we are similar to some people and different from others, the students can colour in their own genetic wheel.

Genetic wheel

Instruct the students:

  • if you can roll up the sides of your tongue, colour in the top half of the centre circle;
  • if you cannot roll up your tongue, colour in the bottom half of the centre circle;
  • if you have a straight thumb, colour in the top half of the second circle;
  • if you have a hitch-hiker's thumb (which bends backwards), colour in the bottom half of the second circle;
  • if your hair forms a V on your forehead, colour in the top half of the third circle;
  • if your hair forms a curve or straight line across your forehead, colour in the bottom half of the third circle;
  • if you have brown eyes, colour in the top half of the fourth circle;
  • if you have blue, grey, hazel, or green eyes, colour in the bottom half of the fourth circle;
  • if your little fingers are straight, colour in the top half of the fifth circle;
  • if your little finger bends towards your other fingers, colour in the bottom half of the fifth circle;
  • if you have hairs between your hand and the middle knuckles of some of your fingers, colour in the top half of the sixth circle;
  • if you have no hairs between your hand and the middle knuckles of your fingers, colour in the bottom half of the sixth circle.

Display all the genetic wheels and ask the students to look for similar and different patterns. For homework, they could find out if other people they know have similar or different characteristics.

Although we can't change what we are born with, our environment can alter our appearance. Ask the students for examples of this. Examples might include the sun bleaching our hair and tanning our skin, what we eat, and how we exercise. The activity Changing Appearances provides a further opportunity for the students to explore this aspect.

Anyone who ...?

Stand the students in an open area and explain that they are going to find someone who has something the same as them, for example, someone who has eyes of the same colour or the same sort of hair (long or short, colour, style).

Change the focus to finding someone who has something different.

Change it again to things that are similar (or different) that cannot be seen, such as liking the same food, movies, or games.

This activity can also be used for pairing students and forming groups.

Making connections

Start by identifying a student who has something the same as you, such as eye colour or a liking for a particular food. Unroll a short length from a ball of string and, holding the end, give the student the ball. The student then chooses another person and unrolls another short length before passing on the ball of string saying, "I am making a connection with XXX because s/he has the same XXX as me." That student then takes hold of the ball of string and passes it on to someone else who has something the same as them. Continue doing this until connections have been made between the teacher and all the students in the class and everyone is holding onto the string.

Following this activity, the students can reflect on the range of similarities and differences in the class and consider the value of diversity in the school community.

An extension to this activity could be to have several balls of string and make multiple connections. This will ensure that all students are included more quickly.

Teachers' notes

Caution: Be sensitive about the situations of adopted or foster children if, after the genetic wheel activity, you ask the students to go home and compare their characteristics with those of their parents and siblings.

Resources needed include:

  • a ball of string for the Making connections activity;
  • for the Genetic wheel activity, a sheet of paper for each student, with six concentric circles drawn on it that fill up the whole page. These circles should have a horizontal dividing line drawn across them. Have a selection of colouring pens or pencils available.

Footer: