Lesson 5: Resilience: developing a growth mindset

Developing their resilience, children learn to identify strategies to help overcome barriers or manage difficult emotions

Before the lesson

Have ready

  • Presentation: Growth mindset (see Wrapping up)
  • Playing cards
  • Needles and thread
  • Wooden blocks
  • Link: Safe YouTube video: ‘Growth Mindset’


  • Activity: Challenges recording sheets (see Classroom resources) x1 per pupil)

Download classroom resources

Activity: Challenges recording sheets
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Learning objectives

  • To identify strategies to help overcome barriers or manage difficult emotions
  • To develop a growth mindset

Statutory guidance

  • The PSHE Association Programme of Study recommends that pupils learn about: Health and wellbeing: Ourselves, growing and changing: H24. How to manage when finding things difficult 

Success criteria

  • I can describe how I feel when I find something difficult
  • I understand that everybody fails 
  • I know that failing isn’t the end of a process
  • I understand what a growth mindset is

Cross-curricular links

  • PSHE Association’s Programme of Study for PSHE Education

Attention grabber

Discuss what pupils have been doing to work towards their goal, referring to their Activity: Steps to Success Ladders from lesson 4.

As a class, discuss any obstacles they may have encountered or why it might be difficult to persevere. Encourage them to celebrate small achievements which work towards a larger goal. 

Key question

  • What have we achieved towards our goal?

Main event

Set up a carousel of activities with each group spending four minutes on each: 

  • building card houses
  • threading as many needles as you can in one minute
  • building a tower of blocks. 

Let children know that these challenges will involve failing, which can feel frustrating. Discuss how to manage these feelings so that they do not become distressed. Remind them of using laughter to help them relax and stay calm (see Year 1 > Lesson 3 > Relaxation). Let them know that if at any point they want to take a break, that’s fine. 

As the children work through the activities, they can use the Activity: Challenges recording sheet to keep a tally of the number of attempts they made on each of the tasks and what they achieved (number of cards stacked/needles threaded/blocks stacked). 

Discuss the following:

  • How did they feel when their tower fell or they ran out of time?
  • How many times did they try it? 
  • Why didn’t they try more? 
  • What might have happened if they kept trying? 

Discuss how comparing their results with other people can make it more difficult. Instead they should focus on their starting point and try to gradually improve. Point out that they won’t always get better each time, in fact sometimes it may seem as though they’re getting worse! Just encourage them to continue to keep trying and adjust their goals as necessary.

Give children another go on each activity (four minutes each) and frequently remind them and reinforce the message that this is about them developing perseverance skills rather than trying to get better at stacking cards or competing against others.

Key questions

  • What situations make you want to give up?
  • What is an alternative to giving up?
  • What makes it easier to persevere?
  • Why is it more difficult when you compare yourself to other people?


Pupils needing extra support: May find the time-limited challenges difficult to cope with. Give them the option to time other children using a stopwatch, if they show signs of becoming agitated.

Pupils working at greater depth: Should be challenged to explain what a growth mindset is and how it could be applied in different contexts.

Wrapping up

Explain what a growth mindset is and how it is different to a fixed mindset by showing the Presentation: Growth mindset.

Presentation: Growth mindset

Show Link: Safe Youtube video ‘Growth Mindset and then ask pupils:

Key questions

  • How might someone with a fixed mindset approach the challenges you looked at today?
  • How might someone with a growth mindset approach them?

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding

Pupils with secure understanding indicated by: Explaining what a growth mindset is and using strategies to help stay calm during the trick challenges.

Pupils working at greater depth indicated by: Explaining what a growth mindset looks like in different contexts. Suggesting and using a variety of strategies to help keep calm during the tricky challenges. Focusing on their own improvement rather than comparing it to other peoples’.


  • Try

  • Fail

  • Frustrating

  • Challenge

  • Growth mindset

Created by:
Sarah Huggins,  
Relationships & Sex Education specialist
Sarah has over 20 years’ experience in education. Starting as a Primary teacher, Sarah then moved into an advisory roleA particular job you do as part of a larger task that covered both PSHE education and Citizenship. She delivers courses…
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