4. What the emotions can tell us

Lesson powerpoint here


  1. To identify mood using a MoodMap;
  2. To understand the link between what we think and what we feel;
  3. To understand what emotions tell us about the moral content of situations.
  1. Explaining the emotions.
  • Ask pupils to play a game (e.g. Jenga) for 5 minutes, or play them a short comedy video.
  • Re-cap how the mood-map works and ask pupils to track any changes in their mood over the first 5 minutes of the lesson on a Mood Map. (This could be done using the Moodex app).
  • Explain that the basic job of the emotions is to indicate whether we are safe, or at risk; whether or not we should approach a situation or avoid it. There is a video explaining the emotions here. Emphasise the idea of homeostasis: that we come to emotional rest when we perceive that our desires are met, or a threat is removed. Also emphasise the image of emotions as accelerators or brakes: that they drive us along or inhibit us and lead to thoughts, speech and action. This then becomes a cycle where emotions/moods lead to thoughts/speech/actions and thoughts/speech/actions lead to emotions and moods.

2. The link between thinking and feeling.

  • Give pupils the list of connections between thoughts and feelings. Give them 5 more emotions (on slides) and ask them to work out what thoughts/perceptions might lead to those emotions appearing.
  • Play the video of David Starkey teaching a history lesson. Divide the class up and ask them to track and name the emotions of different characters in the story using a moodmap. They should follow Starkey, the boy he calls fat, Jamie Oliver and at least one other individual from the class. Ask them to speculate on what thoughts/perceptions might have led to those emotions being present for those characters.
  • Ask the class whether they thought that the emotions displayed in David Starkey’s lesson were appropriate to the situation. Which emotional responses were too weak or too strong? What would need to change to make that lesson an emotional success?

3. The link between our feelings and ‘the good’.

  • Explain that our emotional response to a situation often tells us whether we think that something is right or wrong in the moral sense. Ask pupils if they can recall what emotional responses to Brexit they observed.
  • Give pupils the 3 scenarios on the slides. Ask them to identify their emotional response to the scenarios.
  • Ask pupils what job the emotions do when it comes to morality (right and wrong). Is there a link between the emotions they experience in response to these scenarios, and what is right or wrong in those scenarios? Are emotional responses always reliable?