Life Skills


Life Skills

Working with others


Empathy, Compassion, Respect

Global Goal


Collaboration, Listening

Age Group

10- 11 Years / Grade 5




These thoughtful, young superheroes from Guangzhou Welfare Center, China teach us the power of empathy and compassion through their inspiring actions to help their autistic friends.

These kind kids exhibited an enduring quality of caring for their friends with special needs.  Their thoughtful actions helped create a space of joyful experiences for the autistic kids.

Lesson Plan


Tell students that the lesson is about empathy and how everyone thinks it’s the same as sympathy. Explain the difference, so they get a better sense of the meaning of empathy - sympathy is feeling sorry for someone, empathy is understanding their struggle. 

Ask them to give a few examples that explain the difference between the two.

Teacher Tip: Help them with forming examples if they are struggling. Introduce examples of showing empathy towards people with hearing/visual/physical disability.

DFC Video Activity:

Play the video DFC2015 China: Support the autism kids (

Activity: Share your ideas!

  1. What do you think are some of the challenges that autistic children struggle with?
  2. Why is empathy so important for everyone in the world to have?
  3. Give an example of a global situation that would be better with more empathetic citizens in the world.
  4. What is one thing that you would have done differently than the students in the video?

Activity (Do you feel the struggle?):

Divide students into three groups. The first group will roleplay as hearing impaired, the second as visually impaired and the third as physically disabled. The following ideas can be used for the roleplay.

  • Hearing Impaired – equipment needed: ear muffs. Place the ear muffs on one of the students and ensure that they cannot hear anything. Give a set of specific instructions on how to make lemonade.
  • Visually Impaired – equipment needed: a blindfold. Place the blindfold on one of the students and ask them to make a glass of lemonade.
  • Physically disabled – equipment needed: hand band. Tie the hands of one of the students and ask them to make a glass of lemonade without using their hands.

All students will write about what they felt/think they would have felt in their groups and then share with the other groups.

Teacher Tip: Select middle-order students for the roleplaying activity.

Closing the Loop and Assessment:

Emphasize the idea that: Treat people the way you want to be treated.  Putting our self in somebody else’s shoes and trying to think from their perspective helps us develop interpersonal skills like empathy.

At the close of the session, ask the students to think, pair, share about 1-2 actions they would do differently after this lesson.

Ask the students to complete the following self-reflection using the following rating scale:

1 = Not Yet, 2 = Need Support, 3 = Making efforts, 4 = Almost a habit, 5 = I CAN

  1. I am able to notice my feelings and mood ____
  2. I am able to notice others’ feelings and mood _____
  3. I selectively look out for people’s feelings and mood _____
  4. I carry out actions to positively change people’s feelings and mood ____

Suggested activity: Identify a global situation that can be prevented or reversed by the value of more empathy in people. What the 2-3 most important actions that you will carry out to encourage others to be empathetic for that good cause?