PSHE KS2: The Brain House

In this short film for primary schools, Dr Hazel Harrison talks about what happens in our brains when we feel different emotions.

Clinical psychologist Dr Hazel Harrison uses an analogy of the brain being like a house, with different types of people living on each floor, to explain what is happening in our brains when we feel strong emotions.

Through animation, we see what happens in our brains when these emotions take over and we ‘flip our lids’.

She talks us through how we can carry out some practical exercises to help 'get our lids back on' so that we can connect with our thinking brain and make sensible decisions.

‘Flipping the lid’ is a concept based on the work of Dr Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson.

Teacher Notes

Before watching the film

Watch the Teacher's guide with Dr Hazel Harrison and Natalie Costa for further support on wellbeing and growth mindset, as well as tips for using these resources.

This explains why the films were made and how they can be used, as well as offering guidance on growth mindset language and ways to integrate this into your daily teaching.

This film is produced with 7-12-year-olds in mind.

However, always make yourself familiar with the content and consider carefully whether it will be appropriate and of use for your class.

Once you are confident it is the right resource for your pupils, watch it through alone and consider how it would work best for you all.

Using the film

This is one of five films about wellbeing and developing a growth mindset.

They can be shown in any order and are designed to encourage children to think about their own wellbeing, and how they can learn to build good habits to support their mental health and develop a positive attitude.

Classroom Ideas:

  • Pupils could have a go at building their own brain house (using junk modeling, construction blocks, or drawing) and then have a go at creating their own thinking and feeling characters to put inside.

  • Teachers can use the clip to start discussion in the classroom about the different emotions that we can feel. Being open and talking about their own emotions can help pupils to open up and discuss their thoughts and feelings.

  • Pupils could talk about times when they’ve experienced strong emotions and ‘flipped their lid’. It can be helpful for the teacher to normalise this, reminding pupils that we all flip our lids sometimes.

  • Pupils could have a discussion about what helps them to calm down and get their thinking brain working again.

  • Pupils could write stories about the characters in the brain house and the adventures they go on. It could be helpful for them to think about the different strengths and weaknesses of these characters.

How the film links to PSHE Curriculum:

The film covers the core theme of Health & Wellbeing for KS1 and KS2, delivering learning to pupils on the following points:

  • what keeping healthy means; different ways to keep healthy.

  • the different ways to rest and relax.

  • how to recognise that habits can have both positive and negative effects on a healthy lifestyle.

  • that mental health, just like physical health, is part of daily life; the importance of taking care of mental health.

  • strategies and behaviours that support mental health - including how good quality sleep, physical exercise/time outdoors, being involved in community groups, doing things for others, clubs, and activities, hobbies and spending time with family and friends can support mental health and wellbeing.

  • to recognise that feelings can change over time and range in intensity.

  • everyday things that affect feelings and the importance of expressing feelings.

  • developing a varied vocabulary to use when talking about feelings; about how to express feelings in different ways.

  • how feelings can affect people’s bodies and how they behave.

  • to recognise that anyone can experience mental ill health; that most difficulties can be resolved with help and support; and that it is important to discuss feelings with a trusted adult.

  • problem-solving strategies for dealing with emotions, challenges and change, including the transition to new schools.

  • different things they can do to manage big feelings, to help calm themselves down and/or change their mood when they don’t feel good.

Curriculum notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching PSHE at KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 2nd Level in Scotland.

More from The Brain Lab:

Dan - Connect with others
Kristana - Be active
Mjd - Give to others
Rachel - Take notice
Ethan - Keep learning
Introducing 'The Brain Lab' - A guide for teachers