Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Exploring Our Values Through Poetry: A Program for High School Youth

Alternate Activity 2: Diversity Pie

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint with easel, or dry erase board, and markers
  • Drawing paper and markers, crayons, or colored pencils

Preparation for Activity

  • Determine where you can display finished pie charts at the close of this activity, and make sure you have tape, push pins, or whatever you need to create the display.

Description of Activity

Participants create pie charts to categorize members of a group of people according to various differences among them.

Set up your easel and draw on a piece of newsprint-or draw on the dry erase board-four columns. Write the information below in the columns. As you write, offer the group this commonly used microcosm of the world's population. (You may use the Internet to find the most recent numbers.) If today's world population were reduced to a village of one hundred people, the village would include:

61 Asians

13 Africans

13 North/South Americans

12 Europeans

1 South Pacific Native

51 males

49 females

67 non-Christians

33 Christians

70 people of color

30 whites

Point out that these columns represent four different ways of categorizing the same one hundred people. Ask the group to think of a title for each column. Participants are likely to offer race or geographical origin, gender, religious affiliation, and skin color.

Assign one column to each of four volunteers, and have them draw a pie chart representing the information in their assigned column. While volunteers are drawing, challenge the whole group to think of additional human attributes that could be used to divide the members of a group. Encourage imaginative thinking. You may hear responses such as shoe size, eye color, favorite sport or type of music, allergies or no allergies to nuts, glasses-wearing or non-glasses-wearing, or astrological sign. The object of this exercise is to begin naming the innumerable ways that people can be classified.

To find the diversity in your workshop group, lead a discussion by asking participants to apply to themselves some of the classifications they have generated. To give the conversation more impact, ask participants to move to different places in the room to align themselves with "similar" people. For example, everyone who is a teenager can stand near the door, and everyone who is an adult can stand by the window; everyone whose mother was born in the United States can stand by the door, and everyone whose mother was born in another country can stand by the window.

Tell participants that they will use the pie chart format to document some of the diversity that exists in this group. Use blank pieces of newsprint to create several lists that show the diversity in the room. Follow these steps to make each list:

  • Choose, or have participants choose, an attribute such as eye color, urban versus suburban living, age, family size, and so on.
  • Ask participants to generate all the differences people might have within the attribute, such as green eyes, blue eyes, brown eyes, or hazel eyes. Write them all down.
  • Have participants raise their hands to indicate which subgroup they belong to, and use tally marks to record the number of people in each category.

NOTE: As you choose which human attributes to explore with your group, use your knowledge of your group and its members and your faith in your own ability to manage sensitive conversations. While asking participants to categorize themselves by eye color is unlikely to spark feelings of exclusion, superiority, or discomfort, asking participants to categorize themselves by belief in God, sexual preference, what you will do after high school graduation, or another personal, possibly hidden attribute can bring out participants' judgments and vulnerabilities. The objective of this activity-to call our attention to multiple kinds of diversity-can be accomplished without pushing individuals to an emotional or social brink.

When you have made enough lists, direct participants to work with a partner to make a pie chart that represents one particular aspect of the workshop group's diversity. To avoid duplication, note which pair of youths will do which list. Allow enough time for participants to complete and decorate their pie charts.

Save time at the close of the activity to display the pie charts. Give participants a few minutes to assess the visual representation of diversity within their group.

Lead a discussion to observe the pie charts' representation of multiple kinds of diversity within the group. Use these questions:

  • Does seeing all of our attributes displayed in this way teach you anything about our group? If so, what?
  • Are you surprised by anything you see represented in the pie charts?
  • Find a pie chart that has a very small wedge that you know represents you. That wedge shows that you are a minority when it comes to that attribute. How does that make you feel?
  • Do the pie charts make you feel you know the other people in this group better? Why or why not?