In groups, students act out contentment/balance and discontentment/imbalance.


  1. Cognitive: Students will describe feelings of contentment/discontentment and balanced/unbalanced.
  2. Affective: Students will show increasing ability to express the range of emotions verbally and nonverbally.


music (optional: student devices), paper, markers; optional: costumes

Teacher Prep

Determine whether you or students will choose groups.


Time Activity Notes
1 min Explain that students are going to act out emotions.
Optional: Challenge students to use nonverbal cues only.
Encourage all students to participate
7 min In groups, students do a ‘creative burst’ where they spend 2 minutes grabbing props and developing movement or words to represent the concept of ‘contentment/balance’.

Then students repeat the same exercise for 2 minutes for ‘discontentment/imbalance’.

Encourage use of facial expressions or body language to show what contentment or balance and discontentment or imbalance might look like.
2 min Wrap up the activity by highlighting that different people express the same emotion differently. This activity helps you consider what these emotions look like in yourself and others.

  • How can knowing whether you are feeling content/discontent be helpful?

Offer 10 seconds for students to gather thoughts. Ask students to share observation (in pairs, small group, whole group)

Ask students:
What makes you think they are feeling content/discontent or balanced/imbalanced? Highlight self-awareness.

Teacher Reflection

How did you feel after the activity? Did students participate
and seem engaged? Remember to ask the students to share their feedback on the activity: What went well? What suggestions do they have for making the activity better? Think about what you might do differently next time.

Emotional Intelligence Tips

  • Consider that the time limit may feel stressful for some students. Not all students may want to act in front of others.
  • Approach activity with curiosity and playfulness.
  • Encourage students to be respectful of others’ sharing.
  • Encourage students to think of non-verbal ways of expressing these emotions.