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Unit Plan: Mental and Emotional Health

Topic: Mental/Emotional Health
Grade Level: 5
National Health Education Standards
Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and
avoid or reduce health risks.
Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting skills to enhance health.

The overall unit that this week of lessons would come from is one on Mental and
Emotional Health. This topic we feel is not always covered as deeply as it should be
in Elementary schools. Due to the stigma surrounding mental health issues, some
school districts and teachers may feel that the topic is too heavy for younger
students to comprehend. However if done in the right way, using developmentally
appropriate vocabulary and concepts, mental and emotional health lessons can be a
great way to introduce healthy habits to young students. This week will involve
thinking about what emotions are, the range of emotions people feel day to day, and
how emotions are expressed. The most applicable part of the unit will be the
teaching and learning of healthy ways to express emotions and cope with them. The
week will also include connections to content areas of history, language arts, and
science, making this unit cross curricular. Through activities that reduce stress and
work through feelings of anger, students will begin to see the importance of healthy
expression of emotions, which is a large part of mental and emotional health.
Starting the conversation with students at a younger age can help develop skills and
attitudes that will assist them later in life through difficult and emotional situations.

Sub Topics/Lesson Plans:
Introduction to Unit
Recognizing Emotions
Nutrition and Emotions
Physical Activity and Emotions
Coping with Emotions


PE Unit Plan: Mental and Emotional Health

Day 1: Unit Introduction: What Are Emotions?
Students will reflect on their own emotions through writing and peer
Students will make connections between emotions and the characters in
their independent reading book.

The Way I Feel Worksheet
3-2-1 questions

1. Have the students pair up (grouping can be intentional if needed). Ask the
students the questions What are emotions? The students will Think-PairShare for about 3-5 minutes. They should brainstorm a definition, examples,
and non-examples of emotions.
2. Have partners share their ideas and definitions. Write ideas on the board as
students discuss. Come up with a class definition for the term emotions.
3. Have students Think-Pair-Share with a different partner, this time focusing
on emotions that they feel on a daily basis. Partners should come up with 2
or 3 examples.
4. Come together as a class again and have students share what emotions they
came up with. Write a list on the board of the suggestions shared.
5. Pass out The Way I Feel worksheets. Each student should have two. The
first one should be filled out based on how the student is feeling that day.
They should draw what that emotion looks like on someones face, and then
be able to name the emotion.
6. The second worksheet will be used in connection to their independent
reading book. Students should pick the protagonist from the story, and
reflect on a part in which they were feeling a strong emotion. They may use
the book for a reference as they fill out the rest of the worksheet. Students
who need an extra challenge will be asked to write a few sentences on what
caused the character to have that emotion.
7. Once the students have finished, allow time to share. Students should be able
to discuss the emotions that they are feeling, as well as explain the
characters emotions and why they might have been feeling that way.
8. Explain to the students that throughout the week, they will be exploring the
different emotions that people feel every day, why they might feel that way,
and what they can do to help them feel better when they have emotions that
are not pleasant.

Before the lesson is over, have the students individually answer the 3-2-1 questions.
3: 3 things you learned today.
2: 2 questions you still have about todays lesson.
1: 1 prediction about what we will be learning during this unit.

PE Unit Plan: Mental and Emotional Health

Students mastery of the objective will be assessed by the 3 statements of what they
have learned.

The Way I Feel Worksheet

Day 2: Recognizing Emotions

Students will recognize different emotions expressed by peers through role
Students will be able to verbally explain the importance of recognizing
emotions in themselves and others.

Emotion cards

1. Have a discussion with the students about how to recognize different
emotions. Brainstorm ideas on the board and why it is significant for us to
distinguish between emotions. Students can share personal examples of how
they express their own emotions/respond to others expressions of
2. Split the class into groups of 3.

PE Unit Plan: Mental and Emotional Health

3. Give each group of students a card with an emotion on it. Students will create
a scenario expressing this emotion. Students will have 10 minutes to create
their scenario and practice it.
4. Groups will present their scenario to the class and their peers will guess the
emotion they are expressing. Students will explain their reasoning. Once
several guesses have been shared, have the group reveal their emotion card
and explain why they chose to express it in that way.
5. After all groups have presented, ask students to think about why people
express the same emotions in different ways. Students should reflect on the
question asked at the start of the lesson, and discuss why it is important to
recognize emotions in themselves and others.
a. Students should come to the realization that recognizing emotions
allows them to know how to cope with them effectively.

Observe students as they act out and guess emotions. Informal assessment can take
place during classroom discussion as well, to ensure all students are meeting the

Day 3: Nutrition and Emotions

Objective: Students will discuss how food has an impact on our emotional/mental
Students will identify which foods help keep us well, emotionally/mentally.

6 envelopes with 4 food cards in each one (1 per group of 4 students)
3-2-1 Exit Slip

1. Students will talk about emotional/ mental health and revisit what it makes
to be mentally and emotionally well. Have students brainstorm/discuss how
they think this aspect is affected through nutrition and vice versa? What
experiences do students have when they dont eat particularly well i.e. eat
junk food, lots of sugar, etc. How does it affect the way you feel? Write
answers on board and refer back to this throughout the lesson.
2. After discussing this, talk about how a healthy and nutritious diet can
develop a strong immune system, well-formed bones, more energy, a healthy
and well-nourished brain, and more balance in emotions. Why are these
things important to us in school and life in general? What foods do you think
would hinder us from having this? What foods would help us achieve this?
Dont tell students if they are right or wrong; accept all answers.
3. Have students participate in a food game. In groups of four, students will be
given six envelopes with pictures of various food items inside that pertain to
a certain group. They will collectively pick the item that they think research
proves is best to helping us manage stress, depression, and keeping us

PE Unit Plan: Mental and Emotional Health

emotionally well. This doesnt mean that other foods listed in the envelope
may not be good for you; there is just one that research proves to be the best
for mental/ emotional wellness. The envelopes will contain the following:





Diet soda




4. Begin with meat. Allow for a couple of minutes, so that students can discuss
and rationalize their choice. After each group has selected their answer, ask
some groups to communicate their answers and reasoning. Share that the
answer to the first one is turkey. This is because it contains tryptophan, which is
a chemical that is known to improve the production of serotonin, a chemical that
naturally makes your mind and body feel good. (If the reasoning may be to
advanced for students to understand, then modify the explanation, or remove all
together). Continue this process with the following categories (fruit, vegetables,
beverages, fish, nuts). Constantly have students connect how the benefits of the
food choice correlate to mental and emotional wellness, or what their
hypotheses are.

Oranges: contain more Vitamin C, which helps keep your immune system healthy
and curbs stress hormones

Spinach: contains magnesium, which fights headaches and fatigues

Salmon: contains omega-3 fatty acids which prevent surges in stress hormones and
can help fight against depression

Tea: helps curb the stress hormone, cortisol

Almonds: Contain Vitamin E which helps immune system and B vitamins which
make you more resilient against stress and depression.

PE Unit Plan: Mental and Emotional Health

5) Have students talk in pods about the game. What did they learn, what did they
find interesting, what questions do they still have? This will help refresh their minds
about the material that was covered.

6) Have students fill out a 3-2-1 exit slip, consisting of three things they learned, two
things they are still left curious about, and one thing they are going to start doing/
changing with their nutrition to achieve emotional/mental wellness.

The 3-2-1 exit slip can be used to gauge students progress and can help guide
decision making if the teacher thinks that the students could benefit from further

Day 4: Physical Activity and Emotions

Objective: Students will discuss ways to reduce stress through physical activity.

Worksheet (provided)


1. Students will talk about mental health with a partner and discuss what stress is.
Ask students how they think physical activity can affect their stress/feelings. Have
students share personal examples of times they have been physical and its effect on
how they feel.

2. Explain to students that if your body feels better, so does your mind. Describe
how physical activity produces endorphins, which is a chemical in your brain that
reduces stress.

3. Display the following articles with students: - How To Find
An Exercise Youll Love - Get Off Your Butt

4. In partners, have students discuss which exercises sound fun/they would like to
try. Ask students to share ideas of fun physical activity.

5. Play the Fitness Game Challenge with the class
Have students follow the challenge as a class - The game will lead students through
jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, etc.

PE Unit Plan: Mental and Emotional Health

6. After students have completed the challenge, ask them to record how it made
them feel. Think-Pair-Share: Have students record their own thoughts, share with a
partner, and then discuss as a class. Relate this back to examples students shared at
the beginning of the lesson.

7. Reflect as a class on how physical activity can benefit emotional health and reduce
stress. Remind students that physical activity produces endorphins which is why it
makes us feel better. Healthy bodies go hand in hand with healthy minds - Relate
this back to the nutrition exercise from the day before. When our bodies our
healthy, our minds also become more healthy.

Give each student the following sheet to record times that they exercise and how it
affects their emotions/feelings. Check this every week and ask students to discuss
what they have learned at the end of the month.

Date: Physical Activity: Effect On Mood:

Day 5: Coping With Emotions

Objective: Students will practice ways to cope with negative emotions healthily.

Student Writing Journals

1. Begin with reviewing what was covered in yesterdays lesson about physical
activity and stress. Ask students why exercising is a good thing to do when
someone is feeling stressed.
a. Answers should say something to the effect of it helps you feel
better, it makes you happy, etc.
b. Explain to the students that when we do something to help us feel
better when our emotions dont feel good, that is called coping.
Therefore physical activity is a way to cope with stress.
2. Ask students to reflect on a time where they were feeling sad, nervous, angry,
or something else that wasnt a good emotion. Students can share if they like,
however, stress that emotions are often very personal and they do not have

PE Unit Plan: Mental and Emotional Health






to share. Have students jot down the emotion they were feeling, in order to
continue to help them recognize emotions and name them.
Hand out the Student Writing Journals. Ask the students how we could use
the journals to help us cope with negative emotions. Explain to them that
writing when we are sad, angry, or nervous can help us figure out why we are
feeling that way. It can also help us feel better. Have students spend about 5
minute writing about how they felt in the situation they thought about
earlier. Give them the freedom of writing whatever they want in regards to
these feelings. It is important that students use writing in a way that helps
them, and understand that this might be different for their peers. Allow
students to share if they want to.
Ask students to brainstorm other ideas about how to cope with negative
emotions. Suggest that talking to a friend or adult can also help sometimes.
Model the following scenario with a student. You come home from school
one day and your mom tells you that your goldfish Swimmy died. You feel
very sad and go to your room and cry instead of doing homework. The next
day at school you are still feeling sad and you dont want to do any math.
Have the student pretend to be a friend or the teacher. Talk to them as
though you are the student whose fish died.
When the scenario is finished, have the class discuss how writing and talking
are similar and different. Give the students 2-3 minutes to practice talking
about their scenario with a partner. If they do not feel comfortable sharing
the scenario they wrote about, they can use the scenario the teacher
modeled. Students should then think about which one they would rather do.
Creating preferences for coping methods will give them some direction on
which one to use in the future.
Introduce a yoga pose from the following list. Have the students practice it
and discuss how yoga might be beneficial for coping with emotions.
Tree pose
Warrior II
Explain to the class that over the next week, you will be trying different ways
of coping with these negative emotions.

Have the students brainstorm 2-3 other ways they think they could cope with their
emotion. Write them down in their Writing Journals to reference throughout the
rest of the unit.