Me: We have 3 children. We have 4 pieces of pizza. What can we do?
Students: Everybody can have one piece. Then you can cut the other piece so everybody gets the same.
Me: So we could divide the last piece equally between the 3 kids?
Me: Would that be fair?
Me: I forgot to tell you something. One of the children did not eat supper last night and did not have breakfast this morning. What should we do?
Students: Welll, we should just give the last piece to the one who is hungry.
Me: So two children get one piece and one child gets two pieces?
Me: But is that fair?
Me: How is that fair?
Students: Because the one that gets two pieces is hungry. The others ate supper and breakfast.
Me: When everyone gets the same – that is equality. Sometimes in our class we make sure that things are equal, that everyone gets the same.
Me: When we think about needs – that is equity. Sometimes in our class it appears that things are not equal; when that happens it is usually because we are trying to provide equity. So, for example, we make sure everyone gets pizza. But if we have extra, we make sure that those in need get the extras first.
Me: What did we learn about fairness? (Kids share ideas)
Me: Fair doesn’t always mean everyone gets the same, fair can mean everyone gets what they need.
This is my version of equality and equity. On the York Academy of Discovery Facebook page, I have shared a couple of very good posts that deal with equality and equity. These posts really help one to distinguish between equality and equity.
In a classroom, you need both equality and equity.