Tools and Strategies

Mini-Lesson: Identity Iceberg

Identity Iceberg Mini Lesson Image

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Short Online Experience to Learn about this Core Topic

For Educators | Middle School, High School

About the Mini-Lesson

Only a small portion of an iceberg can be seen above the waterline. Similarly, understanding someone's identity is limited by what we see on the surface. This mini lesson explores the concept of identity and the importance of going "below the waterline" to challenge and avoid stereotypes and identity-based bias.

ADL's mini-lessons are short, interactive, online lessons for educators to learn about a core ADL topic, theme or activity. 


This self-paced mini lesson will enable you to:

  • Understand that identity is multi-dimensional and complex.
  • Distinguish between personal characteristics that are clearly identifiable and those that are not with the metaphor of an iceberg.
  • Avoid making assumptions about others based on bias and stereotypes by seeking to understand personal and group identities.


15 minutes. Move at your own pace, pausing and resuming as needed.


Be sure you have audio capability to hear voice over explanations.

Student-Direct Learning

This framework will be helpful to your students as you start to teach about identity through other activities. You can assign this student-facing version of the Identity Iceberg mini-lesson to provide a foundation for deeper learning about identity. Students can complete the 15-minute mini-lesson on their own or do it together in class.