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What’s Going On Inside?

How are we feeling?

by Alexandra Palmer

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To explore the importance of our emotions by considering the film Inside Out.

Preparation and materials


  1. Show Slide 1.

    Ask the children whether any of them have seen the film Inside Out.

    Ask the children who have seen the film what it is about.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Ask the children what the word ‘emotion’ means. Ask the children whether they can name any emotions.

    Listen to a range of responses

  3. Explain that Inside Out is about a girl called Riley who is guided by five emotions that live inside her mind. Riley has a happy life until she moves to a new city, where she struggles to adjust to her new life and her emotions take over.

  4. Explain that you are going to show a clip from the film and that you would like the children to try to remember the five emotions that are named in the clip.

    Show the YouTube video ‘Inside Out: meet your emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, Fear’

  5. Ask the children whether they can name the emotions in Riley’s head.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  6. Show Slide 2.

    Point out that the five emotions are anger, fear, disgust, sadness and joy.

    Explain that we all experience these five emotions quite regularly

  7. Ask the children, ‘Did Jesus experience all of these emotions?’

    Ask the children to give a thumbs up to indicate yes or a thumbs down to indicate no.

    Explain that you’d like to look at what happened in Jesus’ life to see whether he would have felt any of the five emotions

  8. Show Slide 3.

    Ask the children, ‘What does the word “fear” mean?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    We experience fear when we feel scared of something, when we see danger or when we know that we’re going to experience pain. Fear can be a good emotion because it stops us from doing dangerous things like running across a busy road

  9. Talk through the pictures on the slide by explaining that Jesus went into the desert for 40 days after being baptized by John the Baptist. Towards the end of those 40 days, Jesus was tested three times by the Devil. Deserts are extremely hot places with little water and no shelter from the heat of the sun or the cold at night. There are often dangerous animals like scorpions and snakes, too. There are many things to be afraid of in a desert. However, having been baptized and assured that God was with him, Jesus went into the desert knowing that God, his father in heaven, loved him and this gave him the determination and courage to endure the tough times ahead.

  10. Show Slide 4.

    Ask the children, ‘What is happening to Jesus in this picture?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    The shortest sentence in the Bible is ‘Jesus wept.’ Jesus was crying because he found out that one of his friends, who was called Lazarus, had died. Jesus wasn’t afraid to show that he was sad and we shouldn’t be either. When we acknowledge that we are sad and need some help, that’s when our friends, family and teachers can help us

  11. Show Slide 5.

    Ask the children, ‘What sort of things disgust you?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Suggestions may include minor things like having to eat something they hate and having chewing gum stuck to their shoe, but also more serious issues that affect the world.

    The pictures on the slide show Jesus healing someone and a woman giving away the last of her money. These weren’t what disgusted Jesus, though; what disgusted Jesus was how the rich people and some of the priests treated the poor and the sick.

    Jesus thought that their attitude was wrong, which is why he told the story of the Good Samaritan. This story is all about helping other people even when we don’t know them and they are different from us in some way. Throughout the three years that Jesus carried out God’s work, he always spent time with the poor and sick. It may seem strange to us now, but at times, Jesus’ work disgusted the rich people and the priests

  12. Show Slide 6.

    Ask the children, ‘What is Jesus doing in the picture?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    On the day we call Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. People celebrated his arrival by waving palm leaves. The next day, Jesus went to the temple to worship God, but the outer part was being used as a market to buy and sell animals and to cheat people out of their money. It would have been very noisy and dirty, with people shouting and all the animals making a lot of mess. In fact, it was the exact opposite of what it should have been, which was a place where people could pray, be quiet and worship God. This is one place in the Bible where we see Jesus get really angry. He overturns tables and tells the market traders to get out of the temple courtyards.

    What we have to remember is that there are two types of anger. One is righteous anger, which is the type of anger that Jesus had when he cleared the temple. This means that it’s okay to be angry about something that is morally wrong. Let’s take the example of people who don’t have access to clean drinking water. It’s good to be angry about this because everyone should be able to drink clean, healthy water. Feeling angry about it will hopefully spur us into action so that we do something to help, such as fundraising to help provide clean water.

    The other type of anger is when we lose our temper, which causes problems between friends and others. This kind of anger is unhelpful and tends to be destructive rather than leading to something positive. When it erupts, it is good to get the situation sorted out. We may need to apologize and also forgive and let go of our anger. Failing to forgive and let go of our resentment can make the upset even worse

Time for reflection

Show Slide 7.

Ask the children the following questions.

- What makes you feel joyful or happy?
- Do you think that this picture of crosses looks like a happy one?

Listen to a range of responses.

Ask the children which emotions they think might surface when looking at this picture.

Listen to a range of responses.

Explain that it might seem strange to have joy connected with a picture of Jesus’ cross. In fact, we might be more likely to associate it with the other four emotions.

- Fear because Jesus knew that dying on the cross was going to hurt, so he would have felt scared.
- Sadness because Jesus didn’t want to die on the cross.
- Disgust because Jesus disciples left him and the Romans treated him badly.
- Anger because Jesus had to die on the cross.

Ask the children, Why do you think the emotion of joy might be connected to this picture of Jesus’ cross?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Ask the children whether they have ever felt happy or relieved when somebody else has been told off and got into trouble instead of them, even though they were the ones who had made the mistake.

Christians believe that this is why Jesus was killed: he had our ‘telling-off’ or punishment. They believe that Jesus died on the cross because God wanted to renew his relationship with everyone and to forgive us for the things that we do wrong. However, somebody had to take our punishment and that somebody was Jesus. Christians believe that having a relationship with God can fill us with joy.

Show Slide 8.

Jesus would have felt joyful when he came back to life and when he returned to heaven. This is because he knew that he had obeyed God and fulfilled the task that he had been given to do.

In addition, Jesus’ disciples were filled with joy when they realized that he was alive again!

Dear God,
Thank you for all the emotions that you have given us.
Thank you for fear, which can help to keep us safe.
Thank you for sadness, so our friends and family know when we need extra help.
Thank you for disgust, which helps us to understand other people’s behaviour.
Thank you for anger, which we can use for good by helping other people who are less fortunate than us.
Thank you for the joy and happiness that we experience.
May we seek to live in forgiveness and peace.


‘Great big God’ by Nigel and Jo Hemming (Vineyard Songs), available at: (3 minutes long)

Publication date: December 2019   (Vol.21 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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