Lesson plan for secondary schools ages 13-14 (Y9 / S3)

Download this Let Toys Be Toys gender and toys lesson plan for ages 13-14 as a print-ready PDF, together with accompanying worksheets
Secondary Toys and gender Powerpoint slides
Jobs worksheet (one copy per student)
Secondary Toys and gender source sheet (one copy per student)

Toys, gender and equal opportunities

Who’s it for?

Ages 13-14 (Y9 / S3)


England, Wales and Northern Ireland:

English (speaking and listening, reading, getting information from a range of sources)


Languages (Literacy and English)

Learning objectives

Students will learn to:

  • Read and evaluate different sources
  • Identify how the way children are expected and encouraged to play can affect their aspirations and opportunities
  • Develop critical thinking, research and writing/presentation skills

Lesson Aims

Today you will:

  • Explore different views, opinions and research about toys, gender and equal opportunities
  • Conduct your own research
  • Produce a detailed report on the issue of gender equality for your MP

Who can do this?

All: All students will be able to recognise basic connections between gender equality and play, express their own opinions and conduct some basic research of their own into the topic.
Most: Most students will be able to understand a range of ideas and opinions about the topic, give clear reasons for their own opinions, and conduct detailed research into a range of aspects.
Some: Some students will be able to express more subtle and involved thoughts about the topic, explain their opinions in detail, taking into account opposing viewpoints, and conduct probing research that is balanced, yet clearly supports their own views.

Resources needed

Interactive white board
Secondary Toys and gender Powerpoint slides
Computer suite/laptop bank/tablets/smartphones
Internet access
Jobs worksheet (one copy per student)
Secondary Toys and gender source sheet (one copy per student)

Quick starter/settling activity

Individual** 3 minutes
Students: Match up the person to the job you think they do on the worksheet.
Teacher: Go through the answers using the PowerPoint slides and discuss students’ answers.
Were they correct? Did they guess the point of the task?
Share the Learning Objective.

Activity 1

Whole Class ** 10 minutes
Teacher: Show the students the PowerPoint slides featuring the ‘dads’ cartoon and images of toys and toy adverts. Encourage the students to write down their genuine responses to the images.
Students: Make a note of your responses/ideas on the bottom section of the worksheet.

Students: Discuss responses to the images as a class.
Teacher: Facilitate whole class discussion of students’ responses, using the following questions:

  • What do you think this lesson is going to be about?
  • Which image did you respond to most strongly?
  • Did anything surprise you about any of the images?
  • How do you think these images might connect with the quick start activity?

Share the Learning Objective again, and the lesson aims.

Activity 2

In pairs ** 10 minutes
Students: Read the source material on the A4 worksheet. Discuss with your partner – do you agree or disagree with the opinions? What do you notice about the findings shown in the bar chart? How do you feel about the evidence on the source sheet?
Teacher: Elicit feedback from each pair about what they have read, using the following questions:

  • Do you agree or disagree with the sources?
  • Did anything surprise you?
  • What do you think about the bar chart – do you think this is an important issue?
  • What is the connection between the bar chart and the other sources?

Activity 3

In groups ** 35 minutes
Students: In your group, you are going to produce a report into gendered toys and equal opportunities. Decide who in your group will take on the following roles: Researcher, Organiser, Writer, Presenter. You will all support one another with each of the tasks, but someone should have overall responsibility for each one. Your report could be a PowerPoint presentation, or a formal written report.

Teacher: Oversee group organisation (we suggest groups of four, and you may wish to consider organising students into mixed sex groups to promote balanced discussion). Go through the research guide and ensure all students understand how to proceed with the task effectively. Facilitate students’ organisation and progress with the task and engage with their ideas and discoveries as they work.

Teacher: Complete the lesson by asking students to report back on their progress, findings and opinions so far. Have they agreed within their group? Has their research changed or refined their opinions?

Ideally this lesson should be a starting point rather than a standalone. Students could use subsequent lessons to develop and complete their reports, and present their ideas to the class. A further piece of extension work could involve students conducting primary research, by interviewing members of staff, parents etc. and adding their findings to their reports.

This lesson plan has been developed by Let Toys Be Toys as part of our work to help challenge gender stereotypes. Many thanks to the teachers who helped with their advice and feedback. If you have any feedback or additional ideas, please add them in the comments or email us.

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