To nurture the social-emotional needs of middle schoolers, incorporate a variety of growth mindset activities for middle school students into your instruction.
When students have a growth mindset, they believe that they can achieve great things. They are not limited by their mindset.
Acquiring a mindset like this seems simple, but it can be a challenge because there is so much messaging (maybe from the media, family, friends, etc.) that students receive on a daily basis that lowers their confidence and self-esteem.
That’s why it’s important for schools to fill the gaps. That’s where growth mindset activities come in.
How to Teach Growth Mindset to Middle School Students
In order to teach growth mindset, you need a collection of growth mindset activities for middle school students.
Following you will find 11 free growth mindset strategies and activities that students will enjoy.
Growth Mindset Activities For Middle School
1. Design Growth Mindset Bookmarks.
Start your growth mindset activities for middle school with a task that yields a tangible result that students can use over and over again.
Give students bookmark templates, and have them create a series of growth mindset-themed bookmarks.
It might be helpful to show them examples of such bookmarks (via Google images) so that they gain inspiration.
For text, they can use growth mindset quotes, positive affirmations, or any words that evoke optimism.
2. Dabble In a New Hobby.
Middle school is the perfect time for students to experiment with new hobbies.
Music, art, STEM, sports, and foreign languages are just a few of the areas that students may want to explore.
Encourage students to attend after-school extracurricular activities that pique their curiosity.
You may even want to invite sponsors of those activities to your class so that students can ask questions and get a feel for what to expect.
3. Fill In a 3-2-1 Reflection Form.
For growth mindset activities for middle school students that you can implement regularly and with little effort, try 3-2-1 reflection questions.
To use, ask students a series of questions like this…
- What are three things I did well this week?
- Who are two people in my life that support me?
- Where is one place I study best?
These are just example questions. You can provide a template for students to use, or have them record responses in a journal.
Switch up the questions depending on the needs of your class and the type of feedback you’d like to collect.
4. Review Tests/Quizzes.
Middle school students take their fair share of tests and quizzes, but do they really gain any valuable insight from their scores?
The goal is not just to return graded assignments and have students go on about their day.
The aim is to provide time for students to review their work so that they self-reflect on what they did well and what they could improve upon.
Schedule class time to do this, or assign the task as homework.
Students can record their thoughts near the appropriate places on the exams using sticky notes.
5. Write a Kind Note.
A powerful mindset activity for middle school students is to write a note of gratitude to someone they appreciate.
This can be a friend, teacher, relative, helper, community leader, or pet.
Writing a kind note shows gratitude, encourages, shows humility, and makes a positive impact.
What’s more, this is a good way for students to develop social-emotional skills which will help them interact appropriately with others throughout their lives.
6. Interview a Mature Adult.
One of the most insightful growth mindset activities for middle school students to do is to interview a senior citizen about their life as a child or young adult.
This exercise will help students…
- Expand their knowledge about past events,
- Appreciate the sacrifices made by those who came before them,
- Learn from the mistakes of others,
- Understand themselves better, and
- Have the confidence to create a path that will positively impact others.
7. Play Growth Mindset Games.
Generally, students love playing games.
What’s nice is that you teach just about any subject in a game format, and social-emotional learning is no different.
Engage students fully with growth mindset games. Our list includes a variety of fun, interactive games for offline or online use.
8. Solve a Rubik’s Cube.
Motivate students to stretch their brain power by giving them a Rubik’s Cube to solve.
Playing with a Rubik’s Cube builds persistence, strengthens problem-solving skills, and improves stamina through sustained focus.
Having a growth mindset means that one is able to face challenges and still move forward. This exercise is perfect for this purpose.
9. Complete a 30-Day Challenge.
This is arguably one of the best growth mindset activities for middle school students.
Ask each student what is something that he or she is struggling with right now. Then challenge them to practice that task for the next 30 days.
Are they struggling with…
- Turning in homework by the due date?
- Arriving at school on time?
- Poor handwriting?
- Chatting too much in class?
- Eating unhealthy?
- Being afraid to play a new game at recess?
Whatever it is, have students challenge themselves to practice doing a better job of that task for the next 30 days.
Have them chart their progress on a 30-day challenge worksheet.
10. Read Books About Different Cultures.
A growth mindset means that one is open to new ideas and perspectives.
Expose students to lots of books about different cultures and traditions. Read some as a whole class and discuss plus encourage them to read some independently.
Middle schoolers are at the perfect age for analyzing how their beliefs, ideas, and values compare/contrast with others.
While they don’t have to agree with others’ perspectives and/or ways of doing things, the key is for them to engage respectfully and approach differences from a place of curiosity rather than superiority.
11. Respond to Growth Mindset Questions.
If you have students do journaling in your classroom, adding growth mindset questions to the mix is a great idea because these prompts will help students to self-reflect on their goals and habits.
These questions may be used for morning work, bell work, 5-minute fillers, or as morning meeting discussion questions.
Final Thoughts On Growth Mindset Activities For Middle School
Incorporate social-emotional learning into your curriculum using these impactful growth mindset activities for middle school students.
For more growth mindset lessons, visit Mindset Kit.