Lesson 1  - Identifying Identity

This interactive session explores what identity is. The aim of this session is to help pupils better understand the nature of identity and how it is sometimes makes us unique, and at other times it is what we share with others.

Download the Lesson Plan
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The experience can be done virtually with materials found and used in our Virtual CHIME space,  from a desktop and class room IT facilities or good old fashioned pen and paper. So feel free to download the materials use them online or access them virtually.

Lesson 1

Identifying Identity

This interactive session explores what identity is. The aim of this session is to help pupils better understand the nature of identity and how it is sometimes makes us unique, and at other times it is what we share with others. It will explore things that influence the shaping of identity; and will help explain how identity is shaped by our environment.

The lesson will help them to understand that identity can mean what is unique about us as individuals like our finger print, but also characteristics we share with others which form a group or collective identity. They will learn that identities are complex and develop over time.

In order to understand the idea of diversity and interacting with other people, we must first begin to learn about ourselves and how we interpret the world based on who we are and on our ideas and beliefs. This lesson aims to help pupils understand who they are as individuals and where their ideas and beliefs might come from. The lesson is focused on pupils’ reflection on themselves. Learning about the building blocks of identity will provide a foundation to move towards diversity and a range of other learning pathways.

It can also develop to look in more detail at the components of identity such as ethnicity or cultural heritage. It can also be foundational in looking at the value of identity it itself, for individual self worth and in society and communities.

– Describe personal characteristics and abilities that they have and how they acquired those abilities and characteristics

– Identify general aspects that influence the shaping of identity;

– Understand how identity is shaped by our environment.


These lesson plans have been designed to support teaching of the curriculum for Northern Ireland. A brief summary of how curriculum objectives are met is included below.

The World Around Us

Pupils discuss the development of identity as a concept around the world


Language and Literacy

Pupils watch and then respond in writing to set questions


Personal Development and Mutual Understanding

Mental Wellbeing: maintaining a healthy self-concept

Clarifying own values; including reflection on the origins of personal values and beliefs

Self-improvement through constructive self-reflection

Lets Start Teaching

Lesson Plan

Our lesson plans and linked pupil learning journals can be downloaded directly with the buttons below, alternatively you can use the webpage with supporting videos and pictures embedded, or use the virtual book at the bottom.

Download the Lesson PlanDownload the Pupil Learning Journal

Introductory Video

From our Conference Room Video wall you can find and watch the first video. Alternatively you can open it on another window here or on our YouTube Channel. The video for each lesson provides a good chance for an opening discussion to see what children’s level of understanding is prior to the lesson.


Introduction (5-10mins): Identities and characteristics

To introduce the idea of identity being unique to each of us, a good exercise would be a finger print activity. Using the definitions of Identity: “Your identity is who you are”, AND ”The identity of a person or place is the characteristics they have that distinguish them from others” EXPLAIN that it can be seen as both what makes us unique and individual as human beings, but also what defines us in groups, eg national identity.
Discuss and highlight that our identities are made up of different characteristics that develop and change over time.

Activity 1

In order to show how identity can mean things which make us unique and different we will use a fun with fingerprints activity. Materials like ink pads can be used to make it more realistic for older children, the development activity can allow for pupils to ‘lift’ prints off glass surfaces however this should be supervised. At the end of the exercise all prints not held on the pupils own learning journal should be collected and destroyed.

The linked exercise will very physically demonstrate how other things help us identify or group with others. Thee shared interests ideas or characteristics all help us form a group identity.

A number of learning points can be developed including the benefits of retaining an individual identity even within a wider group identity; the fact that we share more similarities than differences and that these differences are natural and do not mean that one characteristic is better or worse than another.

Activity 2

Activity 2 (10-15mins): Who Am I?

Prepare pupils to think more in depth about themselves – their abilities, characteristics, likes/ dislikes, etc. Tell them that even though they share similar characteristics with each other, they also have a unique personality.
– Give each pupil a “Who am I?” Worksheet. Ask them to work individually and answer questions. (Be sure to tell them to write their names in their worksheets. After they finish, collect the “Who Am I” worksheets and save them for the next unit lesson).

Follow Up

Follow Up (10-15mins): Reflection on Who Am I?

Open the discussion by asking pupils about the process of how identity is shaped and what influenced this process. Ask them:
– Who are the people important in your life? How do they influence you?
– What events in your life will you never forget?
– What groups or organisations do you belong to? Why do you belong to these groups?
– What movies/TV shows/music do you like?
– Can you think of some influences that do not necessarily come from your immediate


“Who am I?” is a question all of us ask at some time in our lives. It is an especially critical question for adolescents. As we search for the answer, we begin to define ourselves and to notice how we are defined by others. Our exploration of identity includes questions such as:

– To what extent are we defined by our talents, tastes, and interests?
– By our membership in a particular ethnic group? By our social and economic class?
– By our religion? By the nation in which we live?
– How do we label and define ourselves, and how are we labeled and defined by others? – How do our identities inform our values, ideas, and actions?

Answers to these questions help us understand ourselves and each other, as well as history.

You can conclude by saying that everybody should be aware of their own identity and the way it is shaped. Our identity is shaped by our immediate environment (family, friends, school, etc.), important life events, groups we associate with, national/local history and popular culture, as well as global developments. These are all factors that contribute to what we believe and value.

Extension Activity


Pupils should be encouraged to search online for meaning and examples of identities. Here the lesson could develop beyond individual identity into group identity and national identities, with the exercises above repeated with pupils pretending to be a nation or country and exploring what characteristics make up that identity.

Resources Linked to Lesson 1

Our linked materials can be viewed virtually or downloaded for your convenience.

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Download the Lesson Plan

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Download the Pupil Learning Journal