Purpose: Students identify situations that cause stress.
1. Students brainstorm situations that they find stressful.
Ask students to list situations that they find stressful. Write their ideas on the board. In addition, ask a volunteer to write the situations on the “Stressful Situations” activity sheet or the sheet of paper you have previously folded to create boxes. Have the volunteer write one situation in each square.
2. Students identify symptoms of stress.
Refer students to a situation on the board. Ask them to describe how they feel when that situation occurs. Encourage them to consider their emotional and physical reactions. (Students might respond: tension, rapid breathing, losing sleep, sleeping too much, depression, getting sick, anger, eating too much or not enough.)
Explain that these responses can be symptoms of stress and that learning to recognize these symptoms can help us reduce stress.
3. Students work in groups and prepare to role-play stressful situations.
Divide the class into groups of three or four. Ask the student volunteer to tear the activity sheet or folded paper into pieces so that one situation is on each piece. Place the papers in a bag or box. Have each group randomly choose a stressful situation to role-play.
Instruct students to include the following in the role plays:
- Identify and describe the stressful situation by acting it out.
- Show the symptoms of stress.
- Show how and why one character’s perceptions of the situation make it stressful.
Explain to students that they do not need to show a resolution for the situation at this time.
Allow students five minutes to prepare their role plays.
4. Students perform their role plays.
Have students perform their role plays for the class.