Outside the in-group


Theme:Stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination
Learning Area:English – Health and Physical Education (HPE) [contentblock id=iconinfo]
Age Group:Primary Upper (10-12 years)
Resource Type:Posters and artwork
Stimulus Name:A Better World, Year 4 student, Griffith Public School, NSW


Students experience feelings of being kept out of a group. The Year 4 student who painted the stimulus work wrote of the importance of children and adults of different backgrounds and colours playing, learning and working together to make the world a better place to live in.


This activity serves as a useful introduction for examining the behaviour of people who feel cut off or blocked from the mainstream of Australian life. It is also valuable for exploring human relationships within the classroom.

Worksheets to download

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Suggested activities

An adequate amount of open space is needed for this exercise.
Ask a group of 8-10 students to form a tight circle and lock arms. Another student outside the group tries as hard as he/she can to break into the group. When and if this student successfully breaks into the circle, he/she becomes part of that group. Another person then takes his/her place outside and tries to break in. Each student takes a turn being outside the group.

Many different feelings might be generated by this game. The person on the outside will have a sense of isolation, of being left out. After a few unsuccessful attempts to break in, the outsider might show considerable aggression, clown around, withdraw, act uninterested, or respond in a variety of other ways. The group might feel united in their common task or conceivably even take pity on the outsider and let him/her in the circle.

Afterwards, discuss the feelings and behaviour that emerged during the game: how it felt to be kept out; how it felt to fail and/or succeed; what techniques were used by various participants to gain entrance to the group. You might want to compare the outsider’s feeling and behaviour with those of people in our society who find themselves outside.

(Adapted from: Shrank, Jeffery, Teaching human beings, Boston, Beacon Press, 1972.)

Additional strategies

  1. Ask students if any of them has ever been kept out of a group that they wanted to be part of.
    • How did they feel?
    • Why do you think you were kept out?
    • How did you want to act?
    • How did you actually act?
  2. Ask students if any of them has ever kept someone out of a group
    • How do you think that person felt?
    • How did you feel keeping the other person out?
    • Should everyone be allowed to be part of every group?
    • Are there instances (or reasons) when it is justified keeping someone out of a group you might be part of?
    • What are some justifiable reasons?
    • What sorts of reasons are not justifiable?

The teacher may need to pose some hypothetical situations to help students explore reasons for discrimination.


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Related resources

Children of varied cultural backgrounds holding hands around the earth
World Harmony Day poster

For additional activities dealing with prejudice and discrimination refer to:
The Prejudice Book, Activities for the Classroom


Outside the In-Group from
The Prejudice Book- Activities for the Classroom,
David Shiman and Barbara McLean
Courtesy of the Alfred Dreyfus Anti-Defamation Unit of B’nai B’rith, NSW

Date: 15 June 2001

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