Lesson Plan on Gender Development

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Gender Development and the DSM

Students read before class

Martin, C., & Ruble, D. N. (2010). Patterns of gender development. Annual Review of

Psychology, 61, 353-381.


Broad Objective

Students will improve their critical thinking skills by evaluating developmental psychology research/theories and integrating multiple viewpoints.

Learning objectives

  1. Students will be able to describe the stages of gender development
  2. Students will be able to discuss how socialization, environment and genetics may all contribute to gender identity
  3. Students will understand the change made to the DSM in terms of gender
  4. Students will think critically about their own gender development and gender role adherence

Preschool Activity Inventory Activity


  • Project an image of a boy and a girl around age 3 and assign half of the class to assess the boy and the other half to assess the girl.
  • Students complete the PSAI for the child they have been assigned.
  • As a class, go over which activities/characteristics/toys students deemed typical for boys and for girls
  • Discuss the measure: is it valid? could it be improved? downsides to parent-report tests


  • Now ask students to complete the PSAI for themselves at 3 or 4 years old
  • Minute paper: Do you think your parents would have rated you differently on this measure than you did? Why or why not?
  • Discuss why these stereotypes about masculine and feminine behavior exist and what it means to be gender atypical.
  • Discuss the rigidity of masculinity and how gender roles are changing
  • Discuss how children become gendered: innate v. learned


Video: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/parents-transgender-child-choose-gender-23954641


Gender Identity and the DSM

  • Present a slide with the diagnostic criteria for Gender Identity Disorder alongside the new diagnostic criteria for Gender Dysphoria
  • Think-Pair-Share: what are the differences/similarities and why may certain things have been changed
  • Discuss as a class the changes made and the possible sociocultural reasons these changes were lobbied for
  • Discuss the DSM and the repercussions of pathologizing gender


2 thoughts on “Lesson Plan on Gender Development

  1. sgupta

    Hi! I really like how you paired a text/chapter reading with a news article reading, because I think it helps make the readings more relatable, ‘real,’ and understandable. I also like how you included a YouTube video into the lesson plan (right at the middle) as a way to transition between gender stereotypes and Gender Identity Disorder. Your lesson plan encompasses very diverse topics, but you weaved them together creatively. I liked the gender stereotype activity you included, and I think it could be one to include in the lesson plan on Stereotypes, Discrimination, and Prejudice I created for a Social Psychology class! Do you think you can add a link to the PSAI to this post? Thanks!

  2. jsavoie

    I like that you included a discussion of Gender Identity Disorder and a video of a transgender child. This is a very relevant topic right now and some students have strong feelings on this subject. I think it is a great way to get them engaged in a topic and should result in more lively discussions.


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