On a Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers Facebook group, someone suggested showing an episode of If You Really Knew Me to illustrate Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I added an introductory video and created a worksheet to accompany the episode. I hope these materials are helpful to your class!
This activity would be an excellent introduction to Maslow for a high school Psychology class. It provides a brief overview of Maslow’s theory and gives students a practical application. As a Health and Family and Consumer Sciences teacher I use this activity to bridge between our units on personality and mental health. It could also be used as part of a bullying discussion to help students understand underlying reasons for why their classmates may act the way they do. In any class this video and worksheet will help students develop empathy for their classmates.
Begin by showing the short video (about five minutes) illustrating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Pause regularly for students to record each level and characteristics of each level.
After the video give students time to answer the reflection questions.
Which level does learning, understanding, and wisdom belong to?
This is to help students realize that self-actualization is at the very top of the pyramid. In order for students to perform their very best in tasks that require creative thinking they must have the other levels in order.
How does our physical environment affect our emotions?
This question is to help students recognize that our physical environment, whether at home or school, can affect our self-esteem and how we interact with others. Issues at home can cause us to act out.
To be the best you, what do others need to know about you to reach self-actualization?
This question gives student an opportunity to reflect on struggles they have outside of class that may be contributing to stress or poor classroom performance.
Take some time to discuss the answers with students as they feel comfortable.
Afterwards, introduce the concept of the “If You Really Knew Me” television show. “Challenge Day” is a group that goes into high schools to help students break barriers and cliques and helps them interact in a positive way. Students disclose very personal information that helps students understand what complex classmates they have. It is a very powerful series.
Preview a few episodes to find a school that most relates to your school’s student body makeup to make the experience more powerful. At the time of this publication I was able to download free episodes here. Episodes are also available inexpensively on iTunes.
As students watch the episode, they should record struggles the students face and sort them into which Maslow level they belong. Students may also think of their own examples. An alcoholic parent could fit under Safety and Security. Having a physical deformity could fit under Esteem.
Spend time discussing the episode with your students. Give them time to record “If You Really Knew Me” statements. This is a great tool to get to know your students better!
After this video and worksheet my students complete the “If You Really Knew Me Writing Mini Unit” available on Teachers Pay Teachers.