Depression Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Do your students know the differences between sadness and depression? A video lesson provides the basics while an activity refines their knowledge of depression. Related lessons and additional activities are included for ongoing instruction.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define depression
  • list symptoms of depression
  • distinguish between depression and sadness
  • outline treatment options for depression


  • 1 to 1.5 hours


  • A worksheet featuring ten different scenarios with people and emotion, some representing depression and others representing sadness. (Make enough copies for the entire class.)
    • For example, to exemplify depression: John's wife died one year ago and, since then, he has been unable to work, does not take care of himself, and does not have any hope for a better future.
    • To exemplify sadness: Sandy's dog died yesterday. She has cried several times when she looks at her dog's leash.

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

Key Vocabulary

  • Depression
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Medications
  • Exercise
  • Psychotherapy

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