1 hour

Create a safe and positive learning environment by agreeing ground rules for the session.

Download the session Aggression 

In this session we will learn:

  • that aggression and frustration are linked
  • to understand some causes of frustration
  • to recognise our own feelings and respond to them appropriately




Digital resources



1. Pass a ball around the classroom. When a student holds it, they can say something that someone might find frustrating. It can be something big or small. Note the different things that people find frustrating.


Frustration – Aggression theory

When people think that they are being prevented from achieving a goal, their frustration can turn to aggression. The closer you get to a goal, the greater your excitement and expectation of the pleasure of getting there becomes. The closer you are, the more frustrated you get by being held back. When the frustration is unexpected, this also increases the likelihood of aggression.

In 1941, a researcher called Barker conducted an experiment. He put some toys behind a wire screen where children could see them, but not play with them. After a while, he let them go and play with them, but the children became quite destructive, because they had been frustrated about not being able to get to them sooner. Another example is when football crowds become aggressive when their team is losing.

2. Talk in small groups about something they had heard in magazines or media about someone being aggressive, road rage or public arguments. Share some of these.

3. Ask students to consider the things that might have been going on (we have to make some assumptions or talk more generally about what can create feelings of anger) How do people react to feelings of anger or frustration?

4. Read through Kayleigh’s day either as a role play in groups or together as a class

5. Discuss in pairs: What ‘things’ affected Kayleigh’s feelings through the day?

6. Discuss the following in groups: What could Kayleigh have done before hand to prevent pressure from building up? What else could have been going for Kayleigh (we don’t know everything)? Decide two top tips for Kayleigh to prevent a repetition of this day.

7. Using the handout, now consider a few things that they find can instigate angry feelings or aggression e.g. people riding bikes on the path, someone pushing in front of me. For each one of these, what they could do to help ease those feelings and help work towards a more positive outcome. Discuss what the person was thinking and therefore feeling. What needs to change to help manage the situation without developing angry feelings and the possibility of aggression.

8. Feed back as a class and share ideas. Which ones did they think were the most realistic or best ideas? Go through the fact sheet and share good ideas with the class. If there is time, practice some of these.

9. Ask students to think of something individually and privately which makes them feel angry or aggressive. Consider how they can think about it differently and what they could do to address those feelings. Write what could be done differently to improve the situation. Share these.


Key message

We all find things frustrating in our day sometimes and we can get cross with ourselves and others. But we can learn to think differently about what has happened – and to think of practical things we can do to help ourselves.



What can I do to try to relieve feelings of frustration and anger?



This session links to: Let it out | Managing stress | Coping with changes | My support network | Positive thinking | Listening skills

Make sure young people know what support is available and how to access this support.