Managing Impulsivity 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.

What is impulsivity and why is it usually considered a bad thing? This lesson plan uses a text lesson filled with facts about impulsivity, engages students in an ongoing discussion, and an activity geared toward analysis to answer this question for students.

Learning Objectives

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

  • define 'impulsivity'
  • outline the primary characteristics of impulsiveness
  • discuss ways for managing impulsivity
  • analyze the importance of managing impulsivity


  • 1.5 to 2 hours

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis.


Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.


Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.


Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author's claims.


Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.


Key Vocabulary

  • Impulsivity
  • Impulsiveness
  • Attention
  • Motor activity
  • Nonplanning
  • Self-control


  • Write the word 'impulsivity' on the board and ask the students what it means, allowing some time for discussion.
  • Pass out the paper copies of the text lesson to the class now, one per student.
  • Have the class read the introduction and 'What is Impulsiveness?' section of the text lesson.
  • Next to the word 'impulsivity' on the board, draw an equal sign and then write the word 'impulsiveness'.
  • Explain to the class that the terms are often used interchangeably.
    • How did we do in defining impulsivity?
    • What types of behaviors might be related to impulsivity?
    • Are there certain times when impulsivity is a good thing?
  • Now instruct the class to read the 'Administering and Scoring the Scale' and 'Second Order Factors' sections of the text lesson.
    • What does attention have to do with impulsivity?
    • What does motor activity have to do with impulsivity?
    • What does non-planning have to do with impulsivity?
  • Tell the class to read the rest of the text lesson now.
    • Why would the inability to stick with things for long periods of time signal impulsiveness?
    • What does it mean to have self-control?
    • How is the concept of self-control related to impulsivity?
    • Based on what we have read about measuring impulsivity, how many of us consider ourselves to be impulsive?
    • Are there certain times when we may be more impulsive than others?
  • Pass out the worksheet and ask the students to work independently to complete it.

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