In this challenge, students explore the characteristics that identify a collection of people as a group. To introduce this concept, play any version of a typical Kindergarten game "Which one doesn't belong?" using objects such as seashells or buttons. (In this game, except for one object, all of the items have demonstrably similar characteristics.) During the game, use terms such as "the same," "different" and "belongs." Read aloud a story that focuses on a character looking to belong to a group (e.g., The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle is a story about a young firefly who is looking for others just like him). Discuss what company the "lonely" character in the story is looking for and how the character would know when he or she found it. Throughout the discussion, use vocabulary such as "belong to a group," "the same," "things in common," "caring," and "friendship."
Guide students to develop criteria for belonging to a group (e.g., may be related, have similar interests, care about each other, able to do similar things, may look alike). Explain that not every group will meet all of the criteria (e.g., buttons may look similar and serve common purposes, but buttons cannot care about each other; people in the classroom are able to do similar things and care about each other, but may not be related to one another). Provide students with several scenarios (e.g., a family eating together, a baseball team, strangers on a street) depicted in works, photographs or drawings where they can use the identified criteria to decide whether or not the individuals are a group. Ask students to explain how they know they belong to a group (the class). As a closing task, invite each student to complete the statement "I know I belong because ____________________." Display the completed statements on a bulletin board. If some students feel that they do not belong in any group, help them appreciate how they belong as members of the class (e.g., they do many things that others do; the teacher, and perhaps others, do things for them; their name is on the class register).