Students explore the concepts of growth and fixed mindsets and the impact these can have on managing stress.

Year level



60 minutes


In class activity

SEL Competencies



Learning intention

Students are introduced to the concept of growth mindsets and understand that they can take control of their attitude towards study and high school as a learning experience.

Key outcomes

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

  • understand the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset

  • reframe their thoughts from a fixed to a growth mindset.

Materials needed

  • Student access to the article '3 ways to talk yourself up'

  • Access to the ReachOut Schools article 'Mindsets'

Mapped to

Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • 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

  • Creative and Critical Thinking:

    • Reflecting

    • Inquiring

NSW PDHPE Syllabus

  • 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)

  • Critiques contextual factors, attitudes and behaviours to effectively promote health, safety, wellbeing and participation in physical activity (PD5-6)

Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • 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

Mindsets discussion

15 minutes

  1. Access the ReachOut Schools article 'Mindsets'.

  2. Explain to students:

    • A mindset is a series of self-perceptions or beliefs that people hold about themselves.

    • Mindsets determine the person’s behaviour, outlook and mental attitude.

  3. Class discussion: What is the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset? Prompting questions:

    • What does ‘fixed’ mean?

    • What does ‘growth’ mean?

    • How does our attitude affect our learning?

A growth mindset is one where a person’s self-belief is that they can develop abilities through dedication and hard work, and through adopting a ‘learn at all costs’ attitude. Success is seen as being due to 35 per cent ability and 65 per cent effort.

A fixed mindset is one where a person believes that traits such as intelligence and talent are set at birth. A person with a fixed mindset lets failure or success define them. Success is seen as being due to 65 per cent ability and 35 per cent effort.

Activity 2

Scenario brainstorm

40 minutes

  1. Scenario brainstorm:

In small groups, ask students to list scenarios where a person may be viewing a situation from a fixed mindset.

  • Example: someone who thinks they could never run 10 km because they feel unfit, or someone who believes they would never be able to make a speech in front of their class because they are too nervous about public speaking.

Students use the thinking routine ‘I used to think… but now I think…’ for each scenario.

  • Example: I used to think I can’t make a speech in front of the class. Now I think I’ll be able to make a speech if I practise in front of my friends and ask my teacher for advice.

  1. Ask students to come up with some ideas in groups, or as a class, about how this mindset could impact their approach to their exam or general studies, and how this might affect their stress levels.

Activity 3

Reflection activity

5 minutes

Ask students to reflect on the impact that growth and fixed mindsets can have on their stress levels. What are some practical things they can do?

Access the article ' 3 ways to talk yourself up'.


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