Context for this Lesson
TOPIC: All Gender Bathrooms
GRADE LEVEL: Upper High School
Created by: David Dupont and Edric Johnson, DFS Summer Institute 2016
Background information conversation regarding gender-neutral bathrooms. A possible article: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/aug/16/obama-to-issue-federal-t...
1. OBSTACLE COURSE
Introduce the activity: Our goal is to navigate a blindfolded volunteer through a series of obstacles to reach a specific destination. Brainstorm verbal directional vocabulary that could be used to navigate the volunteer (step right/left, turn 45 degrees/90 degrees, step north/south/east/west, take a small/medium/large step). Next, select a volunteer who is willing to be blindfolded and directed by others. Invite the volunteer to leave the room or to put on the blindfold and sit outside the playing area. Then, the rest of the students place various objects (boxes, chairs, books, crumpled paper, shoes, etc.) across the playing area. After the obstacles are placed, students sit around the border of the playing space. The volunteer, with blindfold, is placed on one end of the space. It may be helpful to have students develop a directional vocabulary and introduce rules for speaking (going around the circle, taking turns, etc.). The students offer verbal directions to the volunteer – one phrase of instruction per person. If the volunteer touches one of the obstacles, the attempt is over. The entire group talks about what happened, how to improve, and tries again with a new volunteer and layout of obstacles.
- How did you work together to assure the safe passage of the volunteer?
- If we were to do this again, what strategies might you use?
After the first round of the strategy, have the students re-situate the obstacles and ask for a new volunteer. Once the volunteer has been blindfolded, attach obstacle cards to the objects, beginning with Statement #1 below with an object close to the volunteer; move sequentially further away from the volunteer (they should encounter the obstacles in the following order):
1. No bathroom is available to you.
2. You are told by a teacher to use the bathroom at home before and after school.
3. You are verbally abused when attempting to use that bathroom.
4. You are physically abused when attempting to use the bathroom.
5. A law denies you the use of a bathroom.
As the volunteer is directed, the teacher (or another student volunteer) can read the cards as the volunteer passes them.
- How did you feel when the first obstacle card was read?
- When in your life did you have difficulty finding an available bathroom? How did you feel then?
- What did you experience during this activity?
- Would anyone else like to share any reflections on this activity?
2. EXPLODING ATOM
Explain to students will be arranged in a circle and their initial placement is equidistant from the center of the circle. The center of the circle represents complete agreement with statements that are read; their initial placement represents complete disagreement with the statements that are read. The movement towards the center of th circle represents the degree of agreement or disagreement with the statements. Explain to the students that there are no right or wrong answers. Inform them that they will be asked to reflect aloud. After students move on each statement, consider whether it is best to have them reflect internally, with a partner, or with the entire group.
1. Everyone is equal in the United States.
2. Freedom and justice for all is a core American value.
3. Discrimnatory laws against transgender students disregard the well-being of a US citizen.
4. Unisex bathrooms are better for transgender people than segregated bathrooms.
5. All businesses should have accommodations for all people.
6. I'm familiar with the transgender culture.
- What did you notice about the responses in the room? How did they make you feel?
- What did we learn about the group from this activiyt? Where are we most in agreement?
- How might these statements make us think differently or understand more about the issues of bathrooms and transgender students?
Students might create frozen images of the experience of being unable to find a bathroom in a time of need.