Spatial Requirements: Classroom with moderate space required
Activity Type: Group
Grades: 3-12
Group Size: 3 or more
Time: 15 minutes

Introduction: This activity is designed to help students identify the variety of emotions they feel every day. They will understand that they can’t always control the situation, but they can control their reaction to it.


  • A container of Play Dough for each group


Divide students into teams of 3 or more. Have them number off within their teams beginning with number one.  

Tell students their goal is to get the most points. They receive a point by having their team correctly guess the emotion that the modeler makes out of the Play Dough. Begin by asking the number “1” students to come to the front of the class, and whisper the first emotion word to them.

When you say “start,” the modelers should go back to their group and model or sculpt the word using the Play Dough. They are not to speak or give clues. The modeler gets 90 seconds to model or sculpt the word. When the time is up, the other members of the team discuss together for 30 seconds to determine what emotion word they would like to officially submit as their guess. All teams guesses are submitted and each team that correctly guesses the word receives 1 point.

Play as many rounds as you have time for rotating modelers each round. Suggested emotion words include: happy, sad, frustrated, excited, anxious, nervous, silly, glad, delighted, disappointed, down, cheerful. Use words that are appropriate for your age group.

Processing the Experience:

  • Was it easier being the modeler or the guesser in this activity? Why?
  • How many of the emotions from this activity have you experienced today? How many do you think you’ve experienced this week?
  • Are there more emotions than we used in this game? How many more can you think of?
  • Which of these emotions would fall on the negative side of the battery? Which would fall on the positive side?
  • How can you use these emotions to create productive outcomes (ask for examples of using both positive and negative)?
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