Coronavirus (COVID-19) can lead to cancelled events and reduced physical interaction. While these restrictions are critical to support public health, we understand they can leave students feeling upset about being unable to see their friends and doing their usual activities. It can be helpful to remind students that there are things they can do to help deal with situations like these.

Year level



60 minutes


In class activity

Online learning

Take away activity

SEL Competencies



Learning intention

Students identify the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19, analyse how these make them feel, and develop and implement personal coping strategies.

Key outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe ways to cope with uncertainty

  • identify how uncertainty makes them feel.

Materials needed

  • Student access to’s article ‘How to deal with uncertainty during coronavirus

Mapped to

Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Plan and implement strategies, using health resources, to enhance their own and others’ health, safety, relationships and wellbeing (AC9HP8P10)

  • Plan, rehearse and evaluate strategies for managing situations where their own or others’ health, safety or wellbeing may be at risk (AC9HP10P08)

  • Evaluate emotional responses in different situations to refine strategies for managing emotions (AC9HP10P06)

Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities

  • Personal and Social Capability:

    • Self-awareness

    • Self-management

  • Critical and Creative Thinking:

    • Inquiring

  • Digital Literacy:

    • Creating and exchanging

NSW PDHPE Syllabus

  • Examines and evaluates strategies to manage current and future challenges (PD4-1)

  • Demonstrates self-management skills to effectively manage complex situations (PD4-9)

  • Assesses their own and others’ capacity to reflect on and respond positively to challenges (PD5-1)

  • Assesses and applies self-management skills to effectively manage complex situations (PD5-9)

Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Analyse factors that influence emotions, and develop strategies to demonstrate empathy and sensitivity (VCHPEP128)

  • Evaluate situations and propose appropriate emotional responses and then reflect on possible outcomes of different responses to health and wellbeing (VCHPEP147)

Show details

Activity 1

Brainstorm: Uncertainty

10 minutes

Explain to students that in times of uncertainty, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is natural to feel overwhelmed. By dealing with the challenges that arise with uncertainty, they will become more resilient and develop new strategies for coping with the unknown, both now and in the future.

  1. Ask students to think about the uncertainties they are currently experiencing.

  2. Students create an individual list of their ideas. To help, suggest they use categories such as:

    • Friends: Will I be able to see my friends?

    • Family: Will we be able to go on holidays?

    • School: Will school close? How will I complete this year at school?

    • Community: Are all the shops going to close?

  3. Students highlight the three things that are the most daunting or confusing for them.

Activity 2

Y-chart: Uncertainty

10 minutes

  1. Ask students to use their list to reflect on the impact the uncertainty is having on them.

  2. Students draw a Y-chart and record what uncertainty:

    • Looks like

    • Feels like

    • Sounds like.

  3. Explain to students that by understanding what uncertainty feels like, looks like and sounds like, they can recognise early what is making them nervous, frustrated or confused and take steps to reduce its impact.

Activity 3

Presentation: How to deal with uncertainty

30 minutes

  1. Students read’s article ‘How to deal with uncertainty during coronavirus’.

  2. Students select two tips from the article and create a presentation. This may be a video, PowerPoint, infographic or poster.

  3. For each tip students select, they answer the following questions:

    • What is the suggested tip?

    • What examples are provided in the article?

    • Can you think of any other examples that could be included?

    • How could this help someone cope with uncertainty?

  4. Students share their presentations with the class. If working remotely, they could do this by sending their presentations to the teacher or uploading them to a shared space.

  5. Debrief with students, explaining that they can use these tips to help them cope with the uncertainty they are experiencing.

Activity 4

Personal reflection and strategy

10 minutes

  1. Students write down the uncertainties they highlighted in their brainstorm.

  2. For each one, students write a strategy they could use to help them deal with it.

  3. Encourage students to share these with each other and their support networks.


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