Erikson’s Theory of Development

Erik Erikson’s theory of development is one my students have always enjoyed learning about, and pre-COVID was taught in a more hands-on way. Since many of us may be teaching with both students in the actual classroom as well as those taking the class virtually, in real time, I’ve updated my lesson to Erikson’s Theory of Development to incorporate Iron Chef & Instagram activities, making it more tech friendly and usable in both teaching worlds!


  • Explain to students that Erik Erikson’s psycho-social theory of development is known for the eight stages that healthy individuals pass through from birth to death. In each stage there is a conflict or challenge referred to as a crisis.  The way an individual handles the crisis affects how their personality develops.  If the conflict or challenge is handled in a positive way, the individual moves onto the next stage.  Those who have difficulties with the conflict or challenge, may have setbacks that impact their development as they move through life.
  • Students will learn more about each specific stage of Erikson’s theory by participating in an Iron Chef, (Non-Cooking Jigsaw Style) Competition. Iron Chef is an eduprotocol strategy that can be found in The Eduprotocol Field Guide (affiliate link) by Jon Corippo and Marlena Hebern. It’s a great way to keep learning focussed and in the hands of your students, instead of you having to lecture!
  • I place students in 8 groups and assign each a stage of Erikson’s theory of development. Students will select a leader in their group to take charge of the assigned slidedeck. Using the linked resources, student groups, answer the prompts and complete the secret ingredient as they compete and race against the clock to complete all of the tasks before the timer runs out (just like the cooking show). Set a YouTube time clock to 10 or 15 minutes (your call).
  • When time is up, students orally present their stage via the slide and the entire class takes notes using the provided notes form.
  • If teaching remotely, this activity can be performed as a group using the Zoom Breakout Rooms.


  • iPads or Laptops
  • Screen & Projector


  • After students have completed the notes form, I show them a couple of YouTube videos to reinforce the information as well as provide some specific examples.
  • The first YouTube video I show is Eight Stages of Development by Erik Erikson and the second YouTube video is Pixar/Disney Movie Clips of Erikson’s 8 Stages.
  • Following the videos, students complete the Erikson Scenarios: What Stage Am I? (see attachments below) to practice identifying the stages. Scenarios retyped from Personality Pedagogy
  • Finally, students are assigned the Erikson’s Impact (fake) Instagram project and template (see below) making connections between the people who have impacted their lives and the stage of development they represent. Thank you to Shake Up Learning for sharing their (fake) Instagram Template!


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