Lessons >> Browse Articles >> Back-to-School


Identity in a Bag

 Identity in a Bag

Grades 4-6

OVERVIEW: At the beginning of the school year, it’s good to get to know each other, whether it be teacher to student, or student to other students in the class. Many students do not know how to develop relationships. Their negative social attitudes and low self-esteem hinder interaction.


1. To express personal characteristics with items from home.

2. To introduce ourselves to one another.


Students will provide the ten items and their own shopping bag. Teachers will need to remind students several times to bring in their bags. This works best with 100% participation. Instruct students not to bring in valuable or breakable items.


Ask each student to bring an unmarked grocery bag from home and give it to the teacher. The bag is to contain three or four items from the student’s home that “say something about who the student is.” During the class period the teacher empties one bag at a time before the class. The students are to react to the contents of the bag before guessing the identity of the owner. As the contents of each bag are revealed, students should discuss the following questions:

• 1. Was the bag brought by a boy or a girl? How can you tell?

• 2. What kinds of activities does this person enjoy?

• 3. Is she/he an indoor person or an outdoor person?

• 4. Why do you think she/he chose the items that are in the bag?

• 5. What one item in the bag do you think she/he is especially proud of?

By the time the questions are discussed, the students will probably be calling out the name of the suspected bag filler. Before having the person identify themselves it is fun to say “O.K. on the count of three, everybody point to the person whom you think belongs to this bag!” When arms are pointed in all directions, a lively discussion can follow.


Spend a few minutes at the end of the class processing the exercise by asking the following questions:

• 1. Through the items in your bag, what were you saying about yourself?

• 2. How did you feel when the contents of your bag were revealed?

• 3. What did you learn about others by studying the contents of their bags?

• 4. Did you find it difficult to guess correctly? Why?

• 5. What did you learn about yourself from this exercise?

Teaching School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use Teaching's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.