Who would you choose to be your friend?

About this Collection

What do I want to find out?

This activity is designed to find out to what extent pupils have preconceived ideas about who they would choose as a friend, based on appearance, ethnicity or gender.

What do I need?

  • Photos of six children of a similar age to your pupils: three boys and three girls, and a diversity of ethnicities for each gender. Make sure all are smiling and have level eye contact with the camera. You can find a selection on the website.
  • A question sheet asking Who would you choose to be your friend?
  • One small coloured sticker for each child.

What do I do?

Timing: 15 minutes

  • With the pupils in small groups, ask them to look carefully at each of the photos and secretly choose the one they would most like to have as a friend.
  • When they have all decided, ask them to put their sticker on the photo they have chosen.
  • Ask the children to say in turn why they made their choice.
  • Rearrange the photos with the most popular at one end and the least at the other. Do the children notice anything about the sequence?
  • Count the number of times each photo is chosen and record the explanations given.

How do I analyse the results?

  • Note what the pupils notice about the distribution of stickers, are any of the children in the photos more popular than others? Are there any patterns in relation to gender, ethnicity or appearance?

How do I measure the change?

  • Depending on the time between each audit, you can repeat the activity exactly, or use an alternative set of photos based on the same criteria
  • Look for a more even distribution of choices between genders and across ethnicities and appearance.
  • Pupils may be increasingly able and willing to challenge the activity itself and question whether you can choose a friend on the basis of their appearance. They may show a developing understanding that the act of choosing involves making assumptions about the children in the photos.