Lesson Plan: Feeling Emotions with the Amygdala
Curriculum Alignment
NextGen Science Standards

LS1.A: Structure and Function

All organisms have external parts. Different animals use their body parts in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, find, and take in food, water and air. Plants also have different parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits) that help them survive and grow. (1-LS1-1)

LS1.D: Information Processing

Animals have body parts that capture and convey different kinds of information needed for growth and survival. Animals respond to these inputs with behaviors that help them survive. Plants also respond to some external inputs

Core Competencies of Academic, Social and Emotional Learning *[1]

1. Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.

2. Self-management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.

Learning Objective

All people feel emotions. The amygdala is a structure in the brain involved in producing the basic emotions.



Students practice recognizing their emotions, and playfully practice some strategies for managing and responding to their own emotions and those of others. You can use this lesson often to help the students develop their self-regulating abilities. This lesson is a companion to the Feeling Mindful app, part of NeuroPlay Adventures.


Download Feeling Mindful: https//itunes.apple.com/ca/app/feeling-mindful/id972240769?mt=8

Before the Lesson

Print the 2 graphics provided here.

Have the YouTube video ready to show at the beginning of the lesson.


Step By Step

With the students, watch the Ha Ha Ha Feelings Youtube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYHAl7Szj0I

The lyrics of the song can help to review the names of the emotions. The message of the video is an important one: It’s okay to feel what you feel. Everyone feels these emotions at times. It is amazing to remember, too, that this is true for all humans!


Amygdala Lesson and Ha Ha Ha Feelings song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG26SPoaG2I


Introduce the amygdala. The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure in the brain, involved in producing the emotions we all feel.


Tell your class that you are going to learn a new game to help recognize emotions. In the game, they will name a feeling or emotion, then choose one of three strategies to process the emotion. You may wish to tell students that these strategies can be used when they are not playing the game too!


Now, for the class, act out how it looks for you personally when you feel an emotion such as anger or fear.

Say: Raise a hand when you can name the emotion I am showing you.

Help students make a guess if they are not able to name it.


Now ask the students to remember an emotion they have felt in the past. Take the students’ questions or comments about this. As they are ready, have students split into pairs, and designate a Student 1 and Student 2. Tell students they will each demonstrate a feeling or emotion for the other student. Student 1 will start while Student 2 acts as an audience. Have the pairs switch after 2 minutes, so that each student has time to present an emotion, while the other asks questions or guesses the name of the emotion.


Instruct the partner who is watching to listen and watch carefully and to raise a hand to ask a question. This will model how to be a respectful listener.


Throughout the lesson, maintain the message that emotions are okay, no matter what they are. Circulate with the students and talk about what they are presenting.
Now say, we are going to practice some ways to work with our emotions. We will not be making our emotions go away, but we will practice how to let the emotions take their course.


Here are the two strategies we will practice. For each of the following, you can show the printable material if you are using it.


Graphic 1: BREATHE

While you are explaining this strategy, show the students the Breathe graphic.

Say: You can watch your emotion and breathe it out. Taking three long inhales and three long exhales can help you to relax.


Graphic 2: LET GO

While you are explaining this strategy, show the students the "Let Go" sign graphic. Say: Sometimes a feeling can lead you to have negative thoughts. You can let go negative thoughts by talking to yourself and telling yourself to let go that thought!


Now, go back to the partners again. This time Student 1 will decide which emotion to depict and use one of the two strategies. Student 2 will listen, then describe the emotion and the strategy being used. Give time for the students to complete this process, then switch. Student 2 will demonstrate an emotion and strategy.


Remind students that they can use these strategies any time.

Further Exploration

There are some excellent connections to emotions in children’s trade books. Here are two authors to explore.

Download Printables
Web Resources

Wind Chime Generator

Use a wind chime generator to practice breathing out an emotion by directing focus to the sound.


[1] Source: Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning.: Core Competencies: http://www.casel.org/social-and-emotional-learning/core-competencies/