Gumbo Pot

In isolation, gumbo ingredients may not be appealing, yet when melded with other ingredients, the product is delicious.

Photo of Susan Parker
5 10

Written by


The concept is based on cultural similarities.  As with many recipe's there are individual ingredients that may not be tasty when eaten alone; for instance:  onions, celery, garlic, bell pepper, flour, oil.  Individual students represent the individual ingredients. 

As gumbo is made, the ingredients are put together....just as students meeting.  But as time progresses, the gumbo becomes more flavorful as the ingredients cook.  As students spend more time together they become closer and realize that they have more in common than differences.  As gumbo is better the next day, time builds bridges between students of different backgrounds.  It may be that you pick out the bell pepper, but you don't throw away the entire pot of gumbo.  It's alright for students to not have everything in common, but the end product of acceptance becomes evident.

Evaluation results

0 evaluations so far


Join the conversation:

Photo of Erin Quinn

This is so interesting. As a part of a day I designed for my team where we wanted to learn about collaboration, we made soup. It was an interesting analogy for teamwork.

What do you imagine students might do with this metaphor? How would it help them develop empathy for one another?

Photo of Susan Parker

Megan McMahon had a wonderful idea of having the students bring in parts of the ingredients. Students could then sit down and get to know each other. I think that empathy is built when you have a connection with someone and what better way to do this then when eating a meal together. Megan further came up with the idea of bringing in the community - what a great community service initiative!

Photo of Megan McMahon

Hi Susan, glad I could could add some ideas : ) I would love to see this idea built out in a google doc so that others could start to see, add ideas, ask questions--thinking about if another teacher wanted to replicate this idea, what would they need to know? We have a simple template if you need a place to start for the Build Phase. I think this kind of activity is a great way to build community--how could you push it further to build empathy? Would that happen during this activity or be a follow up activity? What kinds of questions or discussion starters could be used to dig deeper into empathy?

View all comments