Growth Mindset

GRADES 6-8

Learning Goal

Students will be able to identify the differences between growth and fixed mindsets and learn how to change a fixed mindset into a growth mindset.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Identify the differences between growth and fixed mindsets
  • Examine their own mindsets
  • Challenge their fixed mindsets

Learning Summary

This lesson teaches students how to cultivate a growth mindset. Growth mindset, a concept developed by Dr. Carol Dweck, is the belief that our abilities can be developed through putting forth effort and not giving up. A fixed mindset, on the other hand, is the idea that our learning and abilities are fixed. When students can
differentiate between the two mindsets, it is easier for them to persist and reach their goals.

The lesson begins with mindful walking. You teach students to identify the difference between growth and fixed mindsets. You then lead a discussion on what is a mindset and specifically what is the difference between a growth and fixed mindset. You teach how to change a fixed thought to a growth mindset thought. Students are tasked with a mindset challenge (they view a square puzzle trying to figure out how many squares there are in total). The activity is designed to reveal their mindsets. Students debrief through a discussion and journal.

computer icon    Online Teaching Tips for Growth Mindset

For both live and recorded delivery, the Mindful Moment can be done around their room. For both live and recorded delivery, the Mindful Moment can be done by students around their room. If students have to use headphones, give them the directions in advance and then set up a signal that you’ll show on the screen when it’s time to return to their desks.

Utilize the slide deck to access the image for the Mindset Challenge activity. For both methods, after some time you will want to provide your students with the answer to the challenge. 

After the Mindset Challenge have students answer opening the discussion questions as a group.

Have students first reflect on their own experience, writing down answers to the discussion questions. Next, encourage students to bring the challenge to a family member and have them complete the challenge. With a family member, discuss how the challenge made them feel and what they think was happening in their brains.

CASEL Competencies

Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”

Self-management: The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.

Classroom Teaching Example