Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Dealing with Bouts of Depression

Melissa Westerly
Bay District Schools


The purpose of this lesson is to bring out causes and symptoms of depression. Depression causes a tremendous amount of hurt to ourselves and others. This lesson offers an opportunity for hope to those who suffer from this illness.


The student knows the indicators of physical, mental, emotional, and social health during childhood.


-Chart paper
-Posters introducing truthful sayings of depression
-Teacher-made scenarios for students to role-play
-Checklist for Observing the Lesson (See Associated File)


1. Gather materials--paper, pencils, chart paper, markers, and posters introducing truthful sayings of depression.
2. Have a clear understanding of where children will go when they are divided up into groups.
3. Have scenarios already written out so that the teacher knows what the children will role-play.
4. Download and preview the Checklist for Observing the Lesson. (See Associated File)
5. Prepare copies of the checklist for the class.


NOTE: In this lesson, the class discusses the health term “depression.” The main focus of the lesson is defining the term depression, recognizing certain causes of depression, identifying signs and symptoms of depression, noticing behaviors of depression, and identifying ways in which an individual can help eliminate the depression from one’s life.

1. To begin, students should be divided into groups of four. In small groups, students discuss the term “depression” and to what extent that term means.

2. Suggestions are written on the board.

3. A class discussion of the technical definition of “depression” begins after all suggestions are written on the board.

4. Within groups, students think individually about what causes them to get in a depressed mood. Next, students discuss their thoughts together.

5. The class (as a whole) role-plays a scenario written by the teacher on the subject of depression. An example is, “Johnny just found out his mom is really sick…so sick that she could be put into the hospital. How do you think Johnny will act when Bobby wants Johnny to go to the beach with him?”

6. In groups, students make one list per group on paper of what they think some of the symptoms are that could accompany depression. Maybe they know of someone suffering. For example, “Sara is best friends with Lauren. Sara knows that Lauren has been upset because she had found out several weeks ago that her brother has cancer.” Sara is very familiar with symptoms of depression--the sad eyes, not being very sociable with people that she cares about, etc.

7. Formative assessment occurs as the teacher observes, using the checklist (See Associated File), the role-playing from the students (whole class). This allows the teacher to see if students recognize or are more aware of symptoms that cause depression.

8. At the end of class, a list is made on chart paper (by the teacher and students) of some ways in which someone can intervene and help those that are at risk of depression. Handouts of the results are passed out after the discussion and lesson are over.


Students, in their groups, think, role-play, and discuss various situations that make them feel depressed. The teacher allows students to freely do this while observing the students' behavior.

Formative Assessment is the only assessment in this activity. This is done during the role-play using a simple checklist that is completed by the teacher. (See Associated File)

Attached Files

This file contains the Checklist for Observing the Lesson.     File Extension: pdf

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