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Striking Out Stress – for Middle and High School Students

Students are not at their best for learning or resolving conflicts when they are experiencing stress. The objective of this activity is to identify situations that cause feelings of stress, and to determine and discuss positive, healthy ways to cope with stressful situations.

Discuss with students the definition of stress.

1. Explain that stress can cause powerful feelings, as well as biological changes in the body.

2. Have students brainstorm feelings and biological changes that stress can cause.
* Responses typically relate to the “fight or flight” theory of stress response.
* For useful information see: Gender Differences in Behavioral Responses to Stress and/or The Fascinating History of Stress Theory.

3. Divide class into six groups.

4. Position each group in an area of the classroom and tape a sheet of poster board to the wall by each group. Each poster should feature one of the headings below:

  • Situations that Make Me Angry
  • Situations that Frustrate Me
  • Situations that Make Me Worry
  • Situations that Make Me Happy
  • Situations that Take a Lot of Time
  • Situations that Take Money

5. Tell each group they have 1-2 minutes to write down their responses.

6. After 2 minutes, have students rotate to the poster to their right and add their comments for the heading on the poster.

7. Continue rotating until each group has added to the other 5 posters.

8. Have a reporter from each group read the responses on the poster in front of them.

9. Discuss similarities and insights.

10. Discuss which responses alleviate or create stress.

11. Have students return to their seats. As a class, brainstorm appropriate and healthy strategies to cope with the stressful situations.

Source: Adapted From: Education World, Teacher Lesson Plans

CRE Calendar Usage: 3rd Edition