There are different psychology activities for high school students that teachers can use in an Introduction to Psychology course or to introduce students to the subject. These activities can spark an interest in psychology and demonstrate the different aspects of psychology to high school students. There are many fun, interesting activities that can intrigue students to explore what the field of psychology has to offer.
Activity in Developmental Psychology
One activity for high school students in the field of developmental psychology is referred to as the Balloon Magic Trick. This psychology activity uses balloons to demonstrate habituation and dishabituation in infants. To perform the activity, have six or seven balloons blown up and grouped together. Stick a large needle into the first balloon, popping it. The students will startle. Stick the needle into the next balloon, and there will be less of a response. Continue popping the balloons. By the fourth or fifth balloon, there will be little response from the students because they are expecting the balloons to be popped (habituation). Before starting the activity, take the last balloon and, using clear tape, put an “X” on the balloon. When you stick the needle in this balloon, stick it through the clear tape, and the balloon will not pop. This will cause a different reaction in the students (dishabituation), because they were expecting the balloon to pop.
Activity in Social Psychology
This activity focuses on social psychology and demonstrates to high school students how easy it is for people to form prejudices and opinions about different groups of people. When the students enter the classroom, separate them into two groups: those that are wearing tennis shoes and those that aren’t wearing tennis shoes. Then, have the group of tennis-shoe-wearing students brainstorm ideas as to why the other group of students didn’t wear tennis shoes. The group of students not wearing tennis shoes should brainstorm ideas as to why the other group wore tennis shoes that day. When the groups finish brainstorming, discuss their responses.
Activities in Psychotherapy
Another psychology activity for high school students is based on psychotherapy. In psychotherapy, it is necessary for the patient to reveal her innermost secrets, and there is often resistance to this. This activity demonstrates that for students. Begin by letting the students know that they don’t have to participate and can say “no” at any time. Ask students to write down a secret on a piece of paper that they have never told anyone and fold the paper. The teacher will then walk around the classroom, asking students to hand over their secret. Some will; some won’t. Play with the secrets, putting the papers in your pocket or tossing them in the air. At the end of the activity, give all the secrets back and discuss the anxiety that students felt with their secrets in the hand of another.
Sensation and Perception
This activity for high school students demonstrates differences in sensation and perception. Each student will need two sharp pencils and a partner. One student will close his eyes while his partner takes the pencils and gently presses the tips of the pencils into their arm. At first, the student with his eyes closed will feel both pencil tips. As their partner begin to move the pencils closer to one another, they will reach a point that the student will only feel one point of pressure, even though there are still two pencils applying pressure.