social studies

Mice Don't Taste Like Chicken • Social Studies Lesson Plan by Scott Heydt

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a. Students will respond to levels of anger derived from select scenarios
b. Students will identify personal warning signs to anger
c. Students will understand that anger is an expression of need
d. Students will learn to use the “I feel, I need, I want” formula to express their anger to others


a. A copy of Mice Don’t Taste Like Chicken by Scott Heydt
b. Non-latex balloon (1 per student)
c. Scenario List (1 per small group)
d. “I feel, I need, I want” desk cube (optional)


a. Anticipatory Set (5 minutes)

i. Read from the beginning of Chapter 3: “Ozzie” until the first break in action

ii. Discuss how in this chapter, Drew learns the consequences of not controlling his anger

iii. “Today, we are going to learn how to recognize when we are angry and what we can do to express that anger in a productive, non-violent way.”

b. Building Foundational Knowledge (15-20 minutes)

i. Pass out a non-latex balloon to each student

ii. “I will read a situation from the sheet.  These situations may or may not make you angry.  Everyone will respond in a different way.  When the situation is read, blow up your balloon to a size that represents how angry it makes you feel and pinch off the end.  The larger the balloon, the more angry you feel.”  (Provide an example here)

iii. You may choose to have the class “get the sillies out” by blowing up the balloon a few times so they can take the activity seriously

iv. Read the first situation from the “Scenario List”

v. Discuss why students chose to inflate to that size

vi. Repeat the process with other scenarios

vii. “When I read a scenario that made you angry, can you describe how your body communicated that anger to you?”

1. List physical responses on the board (ex. Tense muscles, flushed face, heart rate increase, gritting teeth, rush of emotion in brain, etc.)

c. Practice and Processing (20 minutes)

i. “Anger is natural and necessary because it tells us what we need.”

ii. “Think about anger this way.  You are not angry with someone for what they did to you, you are angry because you need something that isn’t being provided.”

iii. Example:  You’re not mad that Joey interrupts you while doing homework.  You’re mad because you need privacy to do your best work and a reasonable amount of time.  Joey is not allowing that.

iv. Take time to revisit “Scenario List” to provide examples of what students “needed” that caused them to be angry
v. Introduce the “I feel, I need, I want” equation

vi. “When you are angry with someone and accuse them, what do they do?” (Answer:  They fight back or stop listening.)  Instead, if you approach them with what you are feeling, they cannot argue or disagree because YOU are feeling it.”

vii. “If you notice yourself getting angry, take time to think about what need you have that isn’t being filled.”

viii. “When expressing your anger, you can think of this formula.  Think back to the Joey/homework situation.  I can say, “Mom, I’m feeling frustrated because I need privacy from Joey when I’m doing my homework.  I want to figure out a way I can get my work done without Joey interrupting.”

ix. Divide students into small groups and have them use the formula to express their feelings using the “I feel, I need, I want” equation based on the situations from the “Scenario List”

d. Closure (5 minutes)

i. “Who can report back a strong ‘I feel, I need, I want’ statement they heard in their group?”

ii. Distribute “I feel, I need, I want” desk cubes to place on desks for the rest of the year

e. Extension Activity possibilities

i. Discuss how to adapt the “I feel, I need, I want” equation to speaking with friends and bullies

ii. Create list of feelings that can be used in “I feel, I need, I want” equation and hang them for class reference

d. Additional resources

i. Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.
ii. The Morris Brothers (NERDs: Never Ending Radical Dudes)



Control Your Inner Ozzie Lesson Plan

• Scenario List
• “I feel, I need, I want” desk cube
• Feelings List