This activity helps students learn to be aware of their various levels of anger. Teaching the students about the Anger Thermometer provides them with a way to talk about anger and to identify where on the Anger Thermometer they’re at.
Students learn that anger always subsides or “cools down” over time. This is a very detailed lesson/activity that should be taught over several days.
Introduce the word, ‘trigger.’ This is a word that is used to get something started.
Pose the question: If we talk about the temperature of the thermometer rising or going up, what ‘triggers’ the temperature to go up? (Heat)
Have the students provide different examples of where ‘heat’ might come from? (Example: an electrical heater, the sun outside, the element on the stove, etc.)
Emphasize that these are all triggers to start the ‘heat.’
Anger Thermometer has three stages:
Level I – Calm
Level II – Irritated
Level III – Angry
Show the Anger Thermometer Chart. For these discussions, it is recommended to start with the two extremes (anger and calm) and then work towards the middle (irritated). Students can readily identify times of extreme anger/frustration/anxiety, so it is easy to begin with level three.
Level III – ANGRY
Ask the students if they can remember a time when they were really upset. Allow the students to share some of their experiences and then ask if they remember what their bodies felt like when there were really upset. Possible physical symptoms can include fast breathing, headaches, stomach aches, clenched fists, etc.
On blank paper, have the students draw three pictures of what their bodies feel like when they are angry. Students may refer to the class generated ideas.
Once students have recalled feeling extremely upset and what it physically felt like, pose the question, “What do you do to calm yourselves down during those angry times?” Again, allow the students to share their ideas.
On blank paper, have the students draw three different strategies that help them to physically calm down. Again, students may view the class generated strategies recorded by the teacher.
It is recommended that the teacher create a large ‘Anger Thermometer” on chart paper and record the ideas next to Level III. Having a large visual for the students to see is highly effective.
Level II – IRRITATED
Ask the students if they can recall a time when they were slightly annoyed. (E.g.:- a sibling comes into the room and changes the channel in the middle of the television program; asked to pick up their toy; or tidy their rooms; etc). Ask the students to identify how their bodies feel when they are irritated or slightly annoyed. The teacher records these student generated ideas next to the Anger Thermometer – Level II.
On blank paper, have the students draw three pictures of what their bodies feel like when they are slightly annoyed or irritated.
Then, have the students generate ideas they use to calm themselves when they are at a Level II or slightly annoyed. The teacher records these student generated ideas next to the Anger Thermometer – Level II.
On blank paper, have the students draw three pictures of different strategies that help them to physically calm down when irritated or annoyed.
Level I – CALM
Ask the students to remember a time when they have felt really calm, happy or relaxed. Ask them to think about what their bodies felt like at that time. (E.g.: – a ‘happy stomach’; relaxed hands; slow breathing; etc.)
On blank paper, have the students draw three pictures of what their bodies feel like when they are calm. Students may refer to the class generated ideas.
Ask the students to identify activities that help them stay feeling this way. (E.g.: – reading a book; snuggling with a favourite stuffed animal; listening to music; playing with a favourite game; etc.)
Record these student ideas next to the Anger Thermometer – Level I.
On blank paper, have the students draw three pictures of strategies they use to stay calm or relaxed.
Anger Thermometer template (provided)
Red, yellow, and green felt pens
Using the template, trace enough thermometers onto tag board for each student.
Step by Step:
Step One: Begin by showing the students a real thermometer. Ask the students to think about what a thermometer is designed to do – what happens to the thermometer when the air gets warmer and warmer?
Step Two: Provide students with their tag boards and have them cut out their Anger Thermometers.
Step Three: Students colour the bottom third, including the bulb, green. This is the calm stage. Colour the middle third yellow. This is the irritated stage. Finally, colour the top third of the thermometer red. This is the angry stage.
Step Four: Students use the three coloured stages on their Anger Thermometers to practice showing their temperature rising and then cooling off.
Students each have their own Anger Thermometer to use to help them identify their feelings of anger when situations arise.