Improve life outcomes

Growth Mindset & Neuroplasticity

mini lesson

Goal: Students will identify an area where they can practice having a growth mindset.

1. Students will explain in their own words the difference between growth and fixed mindset.
2. Students will list general examples of scenarios why a growth mindset is important.
3. Students will identify a time in their lives when they demonstrated a growth mindset.

Neuroplasticity - The brain’s ability to build new neural connections through practice and repetition.
Growth Mindset - The belief an individual is able to improve their abilities and talents throughout life.
Fixed Mindset - The belief an individual is born with a set of abilities and talents.

Lesson Procedures


  • It is important to adopt a growth mindset in order to learn new skills or improve upon skills you may have already.
  • Neuroplasticity and growth mindset go hand in hand. When a person continuously practices a skill or routine, new pathways in the brain develop.
    • Think of a tall field of grass. The first few times you walk through the grass it is difficult and requires a lot of effort. Like walking through the grass, our brains build grooves making the skill easier to perform as time goes on. The grass has beat a path.
  • Examples of Growth Mindset:
    • Learning to Ride a Bike
    • Shooting a basketball at the hoop
    • Math Facts
  • Having a fixed mindset limits what we are able to accomplish. If we believe we cannot improve our skills we cannot grow as an individual.


The following activity will help students both understand growth mindset and create a new neural pathway in their brain. As mentioned earlier, any time we are learning a new skill our brains must build a special connection.

Materials Needed:
  • masking/painters tape
  • space to walk

For this activity, use tape to create a 15ft’ “balance beam'' on the ground. If space allows, you may decide to set up multiple beams. Instruct students to walk one foot in front of the other on the line without “falling off” the line. After everyone has made it across the balance beam, ask students how they felt they did. Were they able to walk on the line? Did they lose their balance? Allow students time to practice walking on the beam. Explain practicing and becoming better at balancing as they walk is an example of neuroplasticity/growth mindset. Have students share what skill they want to learn. Follow up on students’ progress over time.

*For the additional instruction and activities check out the complete SiLAS lesson, in the SEL Curriculum, under the Self-Management tabs.