Identifying Emotions Activity: Chameleon Moods

Identifying and managing feelings, or Emotion Regulation, requires the ability to respond to strong emotional situations in a socially acceptable manner, and research shows that children who are good at identifying and managing their emotions feel better about themselves and have more successful friendships. In this identifying feelings activity, students will explore how people show their emotions and moods by learning how chameleons express their emotions.

Recommended Grade Level: Elementary

SEL Skill(s): Emotion Regulation

Duration: 30 minutes

Materials: Chameleon story and worksheet

identifying emotions activity


Backstory: Many people think chameleons change colors to hide from predators. However, chameleons are pretty fast, so they can get away easily. This means camouflage isn’t the main reason that chameleons change their color.

So why do they change their color then? Scientists believe that chameleons change color to reflect their moods. This sends social signals to other chameleons. For example, vibrant colors usually mean a chameleon is excited, and when they are calm, their color tends to be more subdued.

  1. Before passing out the identifying emotions activity worksheets, ask students why they think chameleons change color. Most students will probably say “camouflage.”
  2. Read the story aloud to students while they read along and fill in the vocabulary terms on their worksheet.
  3. Now that we know chameleons change color to show their mood, have students spend a few minutes writing down ways humans show their mood to each other.
  4. Have a discussion with the group about the different ways humans show moods and emotions to each other. Asks students some ways they personally show emotions when they are angry, sad, scared, etc.
  5. Discuss with students which of these are the most appropriate ways to show someone how you are feeling. Remind students they they can use the virtual Cool Down Corner when their emotions get too big.

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