We Belong to Many Groups

The Thought

Most ethnic groups as well as other groups are not homogeneous in their make up and need not be exclusive. One person can belong to many groups. How one represents themselves is what matters.


The following kinetic and reflective activity can be used at any grade level. Students will be asked a series of questions and to move about the room to regroup themselves according to their answers.

Student Objectives

  1. Participate in identifying several groups in which they belong
  2. Understand that groups are interrelated

Time Frame

20 minutes for the activity

10 minutes for group discussion


Colored Construction paper, 2 different colors

Cut each sheet of paper into four cards and make sure each student has one


  • Explain that the class is going to play a group game to see how many different groups the students belong to.
  • Give each child a card and have him or her stand with students with the same color card.
  • When you mention a group from the list below, have those students raise up their cards and direct them to stand in a separate group.
  • For each of the suggested questions, your students will move to regroup to another location. We do not recommend asking more than 6 questions.


Wearing white shoes

In the ____ grade

Who have family members from another country

Who had to change schools

Who have written a letter to another country

Who can speak a language other than English

Who play on a sports team

Who share a bedroom with your brother or sister

Who know someone who was born in another country

Who celebrate a holiday that comes from outside the USA

  • After reading five or six questions ask the students to look at the group they are in. How many of their classmates around them were in their original groups?
  • Ask them to sit down in place.
  • Try and engage them with a few questions, but really the goal of this discussion is for the students to feel like they can make their own observations. A great way to get them to respond is to put the activity in context of school life before introducing the unit on Asian and Pacific American immigration and resettlement.


How many times did you raise your cards and switch groups?

How did it feel to meet your classmates in each new group?

How did it feel to see your classmates in more than one group?

What does this tell us about our class?

How many groups can one person belong to? How is it possible for someone to belong in more than one group?

  • Now introduce the unit by explaining to the students that they will be studying about immigrants and refugees from Asia and the Pacific Islands. Explain how they will also be learning about the contributions of Asian and Pacific Americans, many of whom retain their culture, language and traditions while others make changes and adaptations to these practices. All of these individuals belong to many different groups at the same time, just like we do in this classroom.
  • Ask if there are students in the classroom who include themselves in a group titles “Ancestors of Asian or Pacific Islander immigrants or refugees”. Reinforce the idea that many of the kids in the class may share some of the experiences they will read about, or that their parents or grandparents may have as well.