Session 4:

What influences me?

Session overview

Sessions two and three focused on identity and the things that make up who we are. A sense of 'self' is essential to foster an appreciation of our self-worth and develop personal resilience. Pupils identified characteristics of their own identities. More than simply the names we are given, we're also defined by the things that other people see in us. These characteristics can come from various sources — the groups to which we belong, the personal qualities we develop, events that happen to us or the aspirations we have for ourselves, to name a few. Combined, all of these things can cause us to do certain things or act in particular ways. We call this 'influence', and Session Four explores this in detail.

Pupils will identify and examine the influence that external factors can have and how important these are in helping foster a sense of belonging. Previously, we looked at the character of Marcus and his relationship with his brother Karl during their early childhood years. They live in the same house with the same parents yet behave differently. Karl doesn't seem to want Marcus around. During the session, pupils will consider what else might influence Karl's feelings and relate this to his choices. To better understand these ideas, we look again at the story of Marcus and, in particular, the influences that shape his identity as he grows up.

We'll also consider the importance of groups, particularly how social proof or the herd instinct can cause us to adopt certain behaviours without question. In other words, the more people behave in a certain way, the more we accept and indeed adopt that behaviour, no matter how absurd the behaviour in question. Social proof lies behind a whole range of things, from fashion and diet fads to stock market panic. It can paralyse entire communities, such as when a sect commits collective suicide. Still, it comes from sound human programming that, at one time, ensured our survival as a species, which makes it pretty difficult to ignore!

A. Session aims & objectives

  • Understand the terms, 'group', 'belonging' and 'influence'

  • Understand that influence can be exerted upon us by groups or individuals

  • Distinguish between positive and negative influences and explain that both exist

B. Learning outcomes

  • I know and can tell the difference between groups to which I belong

  • I can identify how groups or individuals influence me

  • I can recognise how different influences affect other people and give examples of where they might come from

  • I understand why I choose to belong to particular groups

C. Terminology introduced

Example definitions of key terminology are included but, wherever possible, use pupils' own agreed descriptions as per previous sessions.

GROUP: Collection of people with some common characteristic or purpose. They can consist of any number, engage and identify with each other at regular or organised times, usually share beliefs, principles or views, have common interests or work together on a task or aim. People can decide on their own groups, or others can identify groups.

ETHNIC GROUP: Category of people who identify based on having a common culture, religion or language.

BELONGING: Emotional need to be an accepted member of a group, something greater than ourselves, or to give and receive attention to and from others. Without belonging, one cannot clearly identify 'self', leading to difficulties communicating/relating to others.

INFLUENCE: Capacity to have an effect upon something. In this case, the character, development or behaviour of someone or something.

D. Resources required

Pupils handheld devices (eg iPads, Chromebooks)

❏ Session checklist

❏ Resource Sheets:

4a: Marcus' identity

4b: What influences Marcus?

4c: Similarities and differences

2c: My identity map (previously completed by pupils)

❏ Slide pack for Session Four

  1. Session title

  2. Resilience

  3. Definition of 'resilience'

  4. Belonging

  5. Definition of 'belonging'

  6. Group

  7. Definition of a 'group'

  8. Ethnic group

  9. Definition of an 'ethnic group'

  10. Family and Peer groups

  11. Definition of 'family' and 'peer' groups

  12. School and Religious groups

  13. Definition of 'school' and 'religious' groups

  14. Influence

  15. Definition of 'influence'

  16. What influences Marcus?

  17. Identity map: Marcus

  18. Becoming resilient

E. Assessment opportunities

There are two specific assessment opportunities in activities three and four. You can use both to demonstrate how pupils' understanding has moved on from the previous discussion and bench marking exercise.

Starter activity: Session three recap

Recap and review ground rules as a class.

Discuss any rules created which worked well, together with any that didn't work – do they need to change?

Make amendments if required. Either way, ensure that pupils understand why we have ground rules and why they are essential.


What do we remember from the last session?

Review previous key learning objectives.


At the end of the last session, we talked about resilience.


Can anyone remember what resilience means?

Briefly test pupils' understanding to ensure they are familiar with the term.


Slide 2: Resilience

Recap on the term if needed.

Introduce Learning Outcomes for this session

Activity one: Understanding belonging

The term 'belonging' is explained as the human need to feel part of something and feel accepted for who you are (your identity) by others. Understanding that all of us, children and adults, have that 'need' within us is essential to the session.

Pupils will learn that our sense of belonging comes from the groups we choose to be part of, including family, friendship, school, community and religious groups. Research has identified that individuals with a strong sense of belonging within their own groups, communities and social networks are less likely to be drawn into situations that may put them at risk.


• Where does our sense of belonging come from?


Slide 4: Belonging

Allow some time for discussion. Note pupils' ideas on the whiteboard, and identify the critical factors of belonging that we get from the groups we choose to be part of (e.g. ethnic, family, friends, school, religious groups, etc.).

Activity two: What is a group?

Definitions of what constitutes a group are discussed, as are specific groups we all might belong to (e.g. ethnic groups, family groups, peer groups, school groups and religious groups). Allow pupils time to understand these different groups and which ones they feel an affinity with. It's an excellent opportunity to reinforce the 'school community' message or ethos where all pupils are valued as school members. An understanding of the term 'influence' is established so that pupils can later discuss how different groups might influence them (or Marcus). It's advisable to cover 'ethnic groups' as a class – as this may be a sensitive topic for some pupils. Facilitate and encourage open and honest discussions.


Groups are essential in all sorts of ways. In fact, following others was an excellent survival strategy in the past. Imagine our class as a group of hunter-gatherers travelling around the plains of Africa 50,000 years ago. Suddenly everyone around you runs away. What do you do? Stay where you are, deciding whether everyone saw something that looked like a sabre-toothed tiger or an actual sabre-toothed tiger? It's more likely that you would have run away too, just like your friends. Later on, you could have all joked around the fire about what the thing might have been. The fact is that those who chose to act differently back then died out. We are the direct descendants of those who copied someone else's behaviour. So copying group behaviour is encoded into our DNA so deeply that we still use it today, even when it offers no survival advantage to us. Occasionally it's useful, but we should often be sceptical when told 'most people do this'. As the novelist, W. Somerset Maughams said, "If 50 million people say something foolish, it's still foolish".


  • Slide 6: Group

  • Discuss the meaning of 'group'.

  • Consider some of the different categories of groups to which we belong. Focus on ethnic, family, peer, school and religious groups.


  • Slides 7 - 13 – definitions of these groups

  • Ensure pupils have a clear understanding of what each is.

  • To help pupils get started, try modelling something easy like 'social groups'.

  • For instance, these could be further broken down into 'sports teams', 'hobbies/pastimes', 'school clubs' as simple subcategories.


  • How do these groups influence us?


  • Slide 15: Definition of influence

  • Ensure pupils can use this term accurately and appropriately.

  • Encourage them to discuss briefly and then focus specifically on 'ethnic groups', noting some of the ideas that pupils come up with (as this is one the most difficult elements of this discussion).

Activity three: What influences Marcus?

Pupils return to the story to read through some of the events Marcus experiences as a young child; he is being rejected or ignored by his brother, Karl, which may cause him to feel vulnerable. Encourage pupils to explore the different influences on Marcus (Mum, Dad, Karl, peers, older group), whether these are positive or negative and which have the most significant impact on him. This activity starts to position how Marcus (and therefore each of us) can become more resilient to negative influences (take time to recap on the importance of identity if needed).

Hand out devices for pupils to read the interactive story from where they read last time to the second check point.

For pupils using iPads: To progress from the first checkpoint it will ask for check point 1 password (identity).

For pupils using non-iPad devices: Read Episode 2.

Hand out Resource Sheets 4a and 4b (also provided as Slides 16 & 17). Highlight the positive and negative influences on Marcus' identity at this stage of his life.

Complete the resource sheet as a whole class using pupils' ideas (Resource Sheet 4b).

Once completed, use the individual groups (e.g. family, school, peer) to highlight who influences which elements of Marcus' identity.


  • Who influences Marcus the most? (Parents, friends or Karl?)

  • What about his peer group? Are they a positive or negative influence? (Be sure to draw out relationships between Marcus' direct friends and other children he encounters at school)

Discuss and make some decisions as a class.

  • What about you?

  • Who influences you?

  • Who is a positive influence in your life?

  • How does this further define your identity?

Using pupils' own individually completed Resource Sheet 2c: My identity map add any new information that pupils feel relevant. Use a different coloured pen which will enable them to track any changes in their understanding.

Activity four: Becoming resilient


  • If an individual is negatively influencing your identity, sense of self-worth or sense of belonging, how does this make you feel? (e.g. worthless, powerless, not valuing life)

  • What can you do about it?

  • If you join a group, can you still make different choices from what the group chooses?

From the answers given, the teacher should identify three ways pupils show resilience to negative influences from groups or individuals — you can find examples of these on Slide 18: Becoming resilient.

  • Focus on the positive aspects of your identity and remind yourself of those positive aspects.

  • Find positive role models in the groups you belong to or other positive individuals that you trust and believe will help, listen to and be honest with you.

Remind pupils of the sentence they completed in Resource Sheet 3a: My resilience map at the end of the last session. Ask them to think about and add ways to become more resilient. Please encourage them to think about this in the context of their own identity and how that might help (or hinder) them in becoming more resilient. Pupils should use a different coloured pen / pencil to show these additional comments.

Teaching Tip

If there are similar topical examples in popular TV shows or films, you could refer to these to provide pupils with further context.


Review terminology, any new language and key learning introduced today. Ask pupils to name two groups to which they belong.

Poll the class to draw out the wide variety of groups that exist. Illustrate the point that lots of us belong to the same groups and lots of us belong to different groups — this is what makes us unique, and diversity is something to be proud of and celebrate.

As an extension activity or homework, choose one group from the list all pupils belong to (if it didn't come up, use 'our class group'). All pupils must use the same group to compare their answers.

Hand out Resource Sheet 4c: Similarities and differences

Pupils should complete it.

Delivery resources

Lime 2021-22 Year 5 Session 4 Checklist.pdf

Delivery checklist

Lime 2021-22 Year 5 Session 4 Resource Sheet(s).pdf

Resource sheet(s)

Lime 2021-22 Year 5 Session 4 Slides (PDF Version).pdf

Slides (PDF)

Lime 2021-22 Year 5 Session 4 Slides (PowerPoint Version).pptx

Slides (PowerPoint)

For iPad Marcus' story app users

Check point 1 password: identity

For non-iPad Marcus' story users

Access code: p2xrp