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Students reflect on the presence of two different types of gratitude in their lives and brainstorm ways to build up their gratitude practice.



ESTIMATED TOTAL TIME: ~ 115 minutes (recommended to be split into two class periods)

MATERIALS NEEDED: Scissors and tape, plus whiteboard or butcher paper for group brainstorming (ideally)


intro video



We did a lot of research about gratitude, and really wanted to find a way for students to better understand what gratitude is, and what it means.  In the field of psychology, they generally distinguish between “state gratitude” or feeling grateful in response to a situational trigger, and “trait gratitude” which is more like the personal characteristic of gratitude.  

We decided to represent both of these types of gratitude with the visual of an island.  We typically think only of the above-sea part of an island when we imagine one in our mind.  But in reality, most of the mass of the island is under the water… it has to go all the way down to the sea floor. (See pictures below.)  In our activity, the small tip of the island that’s above water represents “state gratitude” and the larger mass below the water represents “trait gratitude.”  Basically, the idea is to show that there’s a lot more to gratitude than just remembering to say “thank you” when something nice happens.  This more externally visible part is just one small piece.  The more invisible piece is a deeply ingrained trait and mindset that takes work to nurture.  Below the surface, there is a lot to be grateful for, and this activity takes students down through 3 underwater levels of gratitude, each one a little more challenging than the next.

We also wanted to make the experience tactile and visual to heighten the sense of the metaphor, which is why this activity is in 3D, and will require scissors and physical building and assembly! (see pictures of the assembled model)





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