by Marsha Rakestraw

Humane education activities and lesson plans are just one of the many resources we provide for teachers, activists, and changemakers in our online Resource Center.

We offer more than 125 humane education activities for free download, and we add new ones often. And we’ve now added Common Core standards information to many of our activities.

Here are the 12 activities that were most frequently downloaded in 2015:

12. Exploring Deforestation
Students explore global deforestation and its causes and consequences and consider solutions that do more good and less harm for all.
Recommended for grades 6 and up.
Time: A few days to several days

11: Me Against My Brother: An Exploration of Genocide
Students explore genocide, its broader impacts, and develop a means for taking action to prevent or address genocide.
Recommended for grades 8 and up.
Time: Several days to several weeks

10. A Moment in Your Shoes
How will students feel spending a moment in the shoes of a battery hen or a child slave? Use this lively and thought-provoking activity to introduce human and animal issues and the connections between them.
Recommended for grades 6 and up.
Time: 45 minutes to several days

9. Where Are the People Like Me?   
Students assess examples of  media (catalogs, magazines, books, etc.) to consider who is (and isn’t represented) and to explore the impact of lack of diversity in media and their own rich experiences with diversity.
Recommended for grades 4-10.
Time: 45-60 minutes

8. Not So Fair and Balanced: Analyzing  Bias in the Media
This lesson plan helps high school students (and adults) take a closer look at prejudices, the biases that media contain and perpetuate (such as in what they do and don’t report on, or how particular genders or ethnicities are portrayed), and the ways we are influenced by those media biases.
Recommended for grades 9 and up.
Time: One week of 45-minute class periods

7. Racism Alphabet
Students explore examples of racism, consider perspectives about racism by writing a story, and discuss ways to eradicate racism in our society.
Recommended for grades 8-12.
Time: a few class periods

6.  Growing Changemakers
Through this activity students will gain insight into their own lives, and will be able to connect how their past and who they are as individuals today will help guide them to become changemakers. Through collaboration with their peers, students will also be able to brainstorm ideas and actions for how they can realize their goals.
Recommended for teachers (humane educators), but could also be used with grades 4 and up.
Time: 20-30 minutes

5. More Than a Label
This activity inspires students to think about their own areas of bigotry, to identify how we develop our attitudes about others, and empowers them to take action to reduce bigotry in their own lives and in society.
Recommended for grades 9 and up.
Time: 90 minutes

4. Selling Boy and Girl
Students use toy catalogs to explore gender stereotypes and consider non-traditional gender roles.
Recommended for: Grades Pre-K-4.
Time: 45-60 minutes

3.  Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged
How do our own stereotypes and judgments limit our openness and receptivity to others? This activity uses props (or photos) to explore our snap perceptions of others.
Recommended for grades 4 and up.
Time: 20-30 minutes

2. Dare to Be Different
What is prejudice? Why do some people judge others because of their differences? How can we make positive choices that reflect understanding, acceptance, and tolerance? Students learn about these issues and have a chance to “dare to be different” by altering their appearance for a day.
Recommended for grades 3-5.
Time: 1-2 days

1. Boys Like, Girls Like, Kids Like
This activity helps younger children think critically about gender roles, gender bias, stereotypes, and how diverse and alike we can be.
Recommended for: Grades Pre-K-2.
Time: 30+ minutes

Find all our humane education activities in our online Resource Center.