Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

We Live in a Society

Human Development

Laura Halstied, Matthew McDonald | Published: December 13th, 2023 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Subject Subject Social Studies
  • Course Course Psychology
  • Time Frame Time Frame 90 Minutes
  • Duration More 2 Class periods


In this lesson, students first consider what they already know about the stages of human development. Next, they work in groups to create a poster about one of Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. As a class, they review the posters and take notes over each of the stages. Students then view a video about a psychiatrist that uses Erik Erikson’s theories in his work. To summarize their learning, students create an emoji and short summary about each stage.

Essential Question(s)

How do humans develop socially?



Students reflect on what they already know about how humans develop throughout their lives and the role a parent/caregiver plays.


Students work in groups to make a poster over one of Erik Erikson’s stages of development.


Students view each poster and take notes over each stage of development.


Students watch an interview of a psychiatrist and reflect on the career field.


Students pick an emoji to identify the eight stages of development and write a one-sentence summary over each.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Ages and Stages handout (attached; one per student)

  • Stages of Development Jigsaw handout (attached; one page per group of three to four students)

  • Stages of Development Note Catcher handout (attached; one per student)

  • Pen/pencil

  • Large Poster Paper (one per group)

  • Markers/Colored Pencils

  • Sticky notes (one per student)

  • Personal Devices


15 Minute(s)

Use the attached Lesson Slides to guide the lesson. Provide each student with the attached Ages and Stages handout. Display slide 3 and read the essential question, then move to slide 4 to review the lesson objective.

Display slide 5 and tell students to think about how people develop socially throughout their lives. Have students write down some important events or developments that happen in each age range on the handout, and then add the role that a parent or caregiver plays in each age range. Tell students to share what they have written down with another student and look for similarities and differences. Ask for a few volunteers to share what they came up with.


30 Minute(s)

Display slide 6 and tell students they are going to learn about the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson. Review the bio on the slide with students. Divide students into eight groups and provide each group with one stage from the attached Stages of Development Jigsaw handout.

Move to slide 7 and tell students they are going to read the stage they have been given and summarize it on a poster. Review the requirements of the poster on the slide which include the stage age range, a title that summarizes the stage, a description of the stage, and one real-world example. Provide each group with a large piece of paper and markers/colored pencils. Allow time for students to create their posters. Hang the posters up in the classroom or a hallway. 

Consider stopping here until class meets again.


20 Minute(s)

Pass out the attached Stages of Development Note Catcher to each student and move to slide 8. Using the Gallery Walk strategy, have students look at each poster and summarize the key details from each stage on their note catcher. After time is given for students to complete their note catcher with the eight stages, have students return to their seats.


15 Minute(s)

Provide each student with one sticky note. Move to slide 9 and tell students they are going to watch a video about a psychiatrist who uses Erik Erikson’s theories in his career.

Introduce the POMS Point of Most Significance to students. Tell students to think of one thing that stood out to them from the video and write it on a sticky note. Display slide 10 and play the video: K20 ICAP - Psychologist - Budding Brains.

After the video, provide time for students to write down their POMS and place them on the board. Read a few of the sticky notes out loud and ask a few volunteers to share their thoughts about the career of a psychiatrist.


10 Minute(s)

Move to slide 11 and introduce the Emoji Reflection strategy to students. Have students use a personal device and start a new Google Document. Tell students to choose an emoji that represents each of the eight stages of development along with a one-sentence summary of each stage. Alternatively, if students do not have access to a device, have them draw emojis on paper.

Review students’ Emoji Reflections and assess their understanding of the lesson content.