As an undergraduate Psychology teacher, you can use this set of computer-based tools to teach Stress and Coping. This lesson plan will help students to learn about stress: its nature, its causes, and its consequences for individuals. Students will also view and discuss a resource that reports on the impact of climate change—as a causative factor of stress—on the lives of people globally.
Finally, students will participate in a group activity to examine the various characteristics and causes of stress, as evidenced in the lives of these individuals. Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate-related topic with a core topic in Psychology.
Teacher-contributed lesson plan by Ms Sumangali Radhakrishnan, Jesus and Mary College (University of Delhi), India.
Want to know more about how to contribute? Contact us.
Use this lesson plan to help your students find answers to:
- What is stress and coping?
- What are the types of factors that cause stress?
- What are some of the most important stressors?
- How does stress impact human health?
- How is task-related performance affected by stress?
- What are the different strategies used to cope with stress?
- Why are some people better able to cope with stress?
- What is the possible link between climate-related factors and stress?
About Lesson Plan
|Topic(s) in Discipline||
|Reading (90 min)||A reading (chapter) that introduces the characteristics, causes, and consequences of stress. The reading describes physiological responses to stressors, the cognitive appraisal of a situation, various types of factors that can cause stress, the effect of stress on health and task-related performance, and various coping strategies.
Go to the Reading (Refer Chapter 16)
|A video that shows the role of climate change as a stressor on the lives of people around the globe and from various walks of life through their own testimonies.
Go to the Video
|Classroom Activity (~45 min)||Suggested Group Activity: An engaging role-play activity to improve students’ understanding of climate change as a stressor.
Find the details of the activity in the Step-by-step user guide section below.
Here is a step-by-step guide to using this lesson plan in the classroom/laboratory. We have suggested these steps as a possible plan of action. You may customize the lesson plan according to your preferences and requirements.
Step 1: Introduce the topic through a reading
- Introduce the topic of stress and coping by using the chapter Health, Stress, and Coping (Chapter 16) by Jennifer Walinga, from “Introduction to Psychology – 1st Canadian Edition” by BC Open Textbooks.
- Use this reading to:
- explain stressors
- discuss the physiological responses to stressors with special emphasis on the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) model by Hans Selye
- elaborate on the physical, psychological, personality-related, social, and cultural factors that can cause stress
- discuss the impact of stress on health and task-related performance
- list and deliberate on the various coping strategies used to manage stress
- Note: Use the included sub-chapters to study these topics by:
- - first noting the learning objectives,
- - then discussing the text to explain concepts,
- - then analyzing the mentioned real-life scenarios to understand the situations of stress, and
- - finally, assessing the learning through the end-of-section exercises.
Go to the Reading (Refer Chapter 16)
Step 2: Conduct a hands-on Laboratory activity
- Play the video, “The human face of climate change” by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to explore the effect of climate-related factors and perceived climate change as a stressor in people’s lives.
- The video features individuals—from different parts of the world and various walks of life—talking about the impact of climate change on their lives.
- Pause the video at will to enquire whether students could recognize stress in the individuals featured. Use the video to elaborate on the physical and psychological manifestation of stress.
- Recall the testimonies of different persons featured in the video to discuss their stress scenarios. Enumerate the stressors for each or few of the individuals, e.g., helplessness due to unpredictability and lack of control over intensity of floods and hurricanes in Long Island, Bahamas, as testified by 42-year-old farmer Bernard Knowles; the need to find new jobs, as testified by Filiberto Maraza, a farmer from Bolivia; and the difficulty of finding food on an everyday basis, as testified by the chief of traditional authority from a village in Central Malawi.
- Finally, discuss the characteristics of stress and coping strategies that are employed in such scenarios.
Step 3: Facilitate a group activity to improve understanding of stress and coping
- Engage the students in a role play activity called “A Day in the Life Of”; in this activity, teams will imagine and play out a day in the life of the persons from the above video to understand the nature and consequences of stress experienced by these individuals.
- For example, someone could play the role of Jessica Petsch, an 11-year-old schoolgirl from the Bahamas, who was affected by severe floods. Each team can be given 10 minutes to choose a character from the video and to build a story around a day in the life of this individual.
- In this activity, students will engage with the topic at a deeper level, thus enabling them to reflect on and empathize with the lived-out experiences of individuals impacted by climate change.