This activity guides students through thinking about what brings passion and purpose to their lives and helps students reflect more deeply on why they love these things and how they gain energy from them.

Objectives

  1. Cognitive: Through sharing things that bring their lives passion and purpose, students will reflect more deeply on why they love these things and how they gain energy from them. Listening to others describe how they found their passions and purposes may inspire others who are less sure about their own interests.
  2. Affective: Discussing things that they enjoy in life may promote shared feelings of happiness.

Materials

Timer

Teacher Prep

Set up the room so it is conducive to pairs of students talking.

Exercises

Time Activity Notes
1 min
  • Explain to students that they will be discussing with other students (1) things that they feel passionate about and (2) things in their lives that feel meaningful or that give their life meaning.
  • Tell students they will speak with 4 different individuals and will have 90 seconds with each.
  • Say, “During each 90-second ‘date,’ make sure each of you shares at least one thing in your life that you feel passionate about or that feels meaningful. Feel free to ask questions about what the other person shared for the remainder of the time.”
If you anticipate students will have trouble finding something to discuss on their “speed dates,” you may choose to do another inspirED activity before this activity such as this one, to get students to reflect more deeply on their passions. You also may encourage them to reflect on and share about their hobbies and what they do for enjoyment.

You may allow students to choose their partners for each “date,” assign them in advance or have students count off and then pair up based on a number (for instance, 1 through 4 meet with each of 5 through 8.)

6 min
  • Have students sit or stand with their first “date.” Begin timer for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
  • Continue for three additional rounds.
Encourage students to respect others’ sharing.
2 min
  • Gather the class together and ask individuals to share how this experience felt.
    • Did it help to clarify or define their passion/purpose? How?
    • What was it like to hear about meaningful things in others’ lives?
 

Celebrate the value of different passions and introduce collaboration on common passions.

1 min
  • Wrap up the activity by reminding students that discovering the people, places, and activities that bring us joy and meaning takes a lifetime. By identifying what you are passionate about and what makes your life feel meaningful, you may feel more guided in your choices and life path.
Optional discussion: How might different life experiences (loss of a loved one, physical disabilities later in life, travel, experiencing a natural disaster, etc.) impact the development of one’s passions and sense of purpose?

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

  • Some students might not have clearly defined ideas for what brings them passion and meaning. Let them know that this is okay.
  • You may explain that the activities and ideas that we feel passionate about and the people, events, and engagements that bring meaning to our lives often develop and change over one’s lifetime and that high school students are likely only in the beginning phases of discovering these things.

* Thanks to students Dexter Hanson, Paul Richie, and Bella Valinoti of the inspirED team at Brewster Academy of Wolfeboro, NH, who created this activity.

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