What does "Nature vs. Nurture" really mean? Lots of students need help with this concept. This simple activity helps clarify the meaning of the terms, provides lots of concrete examples, requires students to contemplate and work with those examples, and helps them understand the true answer to the age-old debate question... that in most cases, the reality is a complex interplay between both factors. It's great for sparking interesting discussions, and works well as part of a unit on personality.
This package includes: 1 handout for students containing a list of 30 human traits to be categorized according to the factor(s) that are most responsible for them (with 2 identical lists on 1 sheet, so that you can slice them and use 50% less paper); 1 blank Venn diagram for arranging the traits (This is the actual assignment sheet that students will work on and turn in to the teacher.); and 1 Teacher's Key sheet (a copy of the Venn diagram sheet with the traits in a suggested pre-arrangement).
For best results, be flexible in how you assess students' answers. Accept that some students may have good arguments for categorizing some of the traits differently than they appear on the Teacher's Key sheet. Encourage them to support their placement of the traits on the diagram with examples from their own lives or information learned in other classes.
The primary objective of this activity should be to achieve a general understanding of the "nature vs. nurture" debate and the important difference between factors of heredity (DNA) and factors of environment (social conditioning). Close with the final point of the lesson: There is no "winner" of this debate... nature and nurture are both equally important factors, and most traits result from a combination of the two.