Lesson on Emotions

My activity can be utilized in a Social Studies or Health lesson. In my public domain search, I located three images of children expressing different emotions (sad, happy, mad).

I would first show my class one of the images and would then ask the two guiding questions (included below). After posing these questions, students would “think, turn and talk,” about the emotion the child is expressing and how they came to that conclusion. I would then lead the class in a discussion about facial expressions, and body language. For example the teacher might elaborate on why the students identified “sad” as the emotion. The teacher can point to the image and discuss the details of the child’s frown, and the tears streaming down his cheeks as evidence that he may be feeling sad. My objective for this activity is for students to be able to identify the emotion displayed by using the child’s facial expression as evidence.

This activity can also be used when discussing empathy with upper elementary students and middle school students. The teacher can explain that our words and actions make others feel a particular way. For instance when we say something that is unkind it may result in someone feeling sad or angry. When showing students the images the teacher can ask similar guiding questions that are posted below, and can also ask students to write or discuss a scenario that explains why the child may be feeling that way.

Guiding Questions:

  1. What emotion is the child expressing in this picture?
  2. How do you know he/she is feeling this way?


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Image Sources: 

Crying Baby: TaniaVdB Baby 

Happy Child: Shlok Nikhil

Angry Toddler: mohamed taher



2 Replies to “Lesson on Emotions”

  1. Kiana, I absolutely love your activity! I think it is so important for students to realize what people say is not always how they feel. A student may say they are doing fine when there are obviously tears welling up in their eyes. There is so much power in showing how people feel rather than telling them. It gives students a visual with the hopes that they’ll feel something too.

  2. Kiana this is a great activity and something I saw done often in my kindergarten field experience classroom. I think it is very important for students to be able to check in about their emotions and be able to articulate these feelings to their teacher/peers who may be able to tell that something is wrong but can’t determine what. I think this lesson could be used in any grade if altered that can help students to connect to their own feelings or how certain actions make others feel which is key to making sure everyone feels safe in the classroom community.

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