Ageism Lesson Plan

Aging is an event that happens to all of us, whether we like it or not!  Students are often uncomfortable talking about aging because they fear it and, not only do they want to avoid it, they often think it won’t happen to them.  They often view aging only from the physical perspective…little do they realize that it’s already happening to them in other ways.  This lesson encourages students to view aging biases that are out there, including some they might hold and others that may have been directed at them!  It doesn’t take long for students to see the similarities between the young and the old!


  • Activity #1:  Who Owns This Phrase?  Print off the phrases and hang them around the room. Students are to move from one phrase to the next, identifying who might have said the phrase.  If they believe the phrase was said by a young person about an older person, then they write a OP on their form. If they believe the phrase was said by an older person about a young person, then they write a YP.
  • Before discussing the responses, have students complete Activity #2.
  • Activity #2:  Would You Approve?  Students are to answer “yes or no” to the statements and be prepared to justify their responses.
  • Set both activity responses aside for the moment in order to complete the following.
  • Ask students to define old age. What age do you consider to be old?
  • View this Video , Millenials Show Us What Old Looks Like, and complete a “Today’s Trending Topic” Tweet response that includes a one paragraph summary of what you took away from this video about aging and 2 #tweets that correspond with your summary.
  • Ask students to answer the following questions:  What is ageism?  Where does ageism occur?  How does society perpetuate ageism?  Provide 3.  Find an article or advertisement in a newspaper or magazine that demonstrates ageism. Describe in writing the aspects that make it an example of ageism.
  • Ask students to revisit the intro activities. Discuss who owned the phrases.
  • Ask if ageism occurred in this activity?  How?  Discuss the approvals vs non- approvals.  Did ageism occur in this activity?  How?


  • Projector & Screen
  • Laptop or iPads


  • Believe it or not, teens and older adults are more similar than one might think when it comes to life situations.  With a partner, explain how the following categories are actually very similar between both teenagers who are growing up and the elderly who are growing old.  Categories include:  Transportation, Work, Income, Companionship, Housing, Friends, Dependency, Aging, Emotions, and Time.  
  • With the same partner, create a Google Slide Presentation, explaining how the above categories are similar between both teenagers and the elderly.  Each category should contain the title of the category and a brief explanation of how it is similar to both age groups.  Also include an appropriate image.  Example:  
  • Overall Presentation should include:
    • Title Slide that includes group member names
    • One slide per category with title, appropriate images and both sides represented.  See example for layout.
    • No spelling or grammatical errors
  • Students will share their presentation with me via Google Classroom. Students may also be randomly asked to share their some of their examples with the class as we discuss the similarities.
  • As an exit activity, I had my students do a reflection using two different poems about aging.  The first one was “The Little Boy and the Old Man” by Shel Silverstein and the second was “The Little by and the Old Man” Story.  See below for both along with the reflection questions.
  • Optional Ted Talk to show as a concluding activity is “Let’s Change the Way We Think About Old Age“.


Image courtesy of photostock at Free Digitial Photos


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