Nature vs Nurture Lesson Plan

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Learning Objectives: 

  1. Review the Nature/Nurture debate in psychology
  2. Critically think about these two perspectives when evaluating human attributes and behaviors
  3. Exercise self-reflection (make accurate self-observations) and apply these two concepts to oneself.

Lesson Overview:

This mini-lesson seeks to evoke critical thinking about the perspectives from both ends of the Nature/Nurture debate in an introduction to psychology classroom. By applying these perspectives to one’s own sense of self (personal characteristics and attributes), the mini-lesson gets students personally involved in the activity and encourages them to share their rationale for the categorization of these attributes on the Nature/Nurture Venn diagram. Students are encouraged to share their self-reflections with their chosen partner (make their case for why they placed the attribute where they did) and then all together as a class.

Lesson Plan (40-70 min): 

  1. Nature/Nurture Review (think pair share) 5 min max:
      • Students will pair up to review the nature/nurture debate (2 min)
      • Instructors will ask students to describe the perspectives of both ends of the debate (3 min)
      • Instructors will use these to post explanations of both ends of the debate on the screen/board.
  2. Handout (part 1) 7 min max:
      • Part 1of the WorksheetNature:Nurture hand-out is passed around, this includes a “word-bank” of potential personal characteristics and attributes, followed by 10 blank spaces for them to come up with their own, or identify with and re-write provided, attributes (5-7min)
  3. Handout (part 2) and Instructor Example max 15 min:
      • Part 2 of the WorksheetNature:Nurture hand-out is passed around with the Venn Diagram on it.
      • Instructors briefly explain the diagram and how to use it, then provide their own example on the board with personal attributes placed in the Venn Diagram (3-5min) so students can see how to create their own.
      • Students will begin this second part of the activity (5 min)
      • Pair with the person next to them to discuss each other’s Venn Diagram and provide rationale for placement of attributes (5min)
  4. Class discussion max 30 min:
      • The class will come back together, go around to each pair, and have one partner explain why the other partner placed one of their attributes in the position on the diagram they did (10 min).
      • For each attribute, we will open it up to the rest of the class to see if anyone else selected that attribute and put it in a different position. If so, we will hold a mini 2-minute debate between the two students (10-20 min)
      • At the end, we will have a giant Venn diagram for the whole class’ attributes on the chalkboard.

Lesson plan created by Nicole Amada and Em Mitchell

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