Resilience Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

This lesson plan teaches students about resilience. The plan includes a visual demonstration, an article with notetaking, a partner role-play activity, and a writing assignment.

Lesson Objectives

As a result of this lesson, the students will be able to:

  • define resilience.
  • describe an example of someone demonstrating resilience.
  • identify strategies to help increase their own resilience.


  • Approximately one hour

Curriculum Standards


Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.


Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.


Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer's purpose.


  • For object lesson: cushion, (or other object that will easily regain its shape - test it before class), play-doh, egg, plate, papertowel(s), hand-sanitizer
  • Copies of the lesson What is Resilience? - Lesson for Kids
  • Copies of worksheet
  • Close to 15 index cards containing scenarios in which a person might require resilience - possible examples to write on cards: environmental disaster, moving away, not making the team, death of a friend or family member, debilitating illness, a friend's betrayal, parents' divorce, etc.


  • Start by asking students what they think of when they hear the word resilience.

Object Lesson: What Is Resilience?

  • Arrange the following items on a table: a cushion, a ball of play-doh, and an egg.
  • Let students know resilience is a word that refers to how we respond when something bad happens. These three objects demonstrate different levels of resilience.
  • Use your fist to crush the cushion. Point out to students how the force of your fist makes an indentation, but the cushion slowly regains its original shape on its own. Some objects and people possess great resilience or ability to bounce back quickly from trauma.
  • Use your fist to crush the play-doh. The ball of play-doh is flattened, but you are able to reshape it into a ball. This is the most common type of resilience - trauma ''flattens'' some people, but through hard work and time they are able to regain their original shape.
  • Use your fist to crush the egg onto a plate. Some objects and people possess no resilience, and after a traumatic event they will never be the same again. (Can use papertowels and hand-sanitizer for quick clean-up.)

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