Parent Guide: Middle School: Lesson 1: Maslow’s Hierarchy

Parents: These are the student check-in prompts for this lesson. Please reach out to your student’s teacher if you want to see how your student responded to any of these prompts.

  • I am aware of my own basic needs.
  • I nurture my needs and look for the tools to help me survive.
  • My own needs are being met, which allows me to be my best self.
  • I can explain why the need for “safety” is important for me to thrive.
  • I can describe what my “well-being” looks like.

A great way to follow up is to ask your child the following questions:

  • What are your needs?
  • What motivates you?
  • Where are you on Maslow’s Hierarchy?
  • What are the levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy?

Learning Objectives

The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to the different levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as important foundational knowledge for understanding “well-being.” It also increases the depth of knowledge for those who are already familiar. This hierarchy will become the foundation for future modules, units, and lessons. Students will begin to examine how well their own needs are being met based on the hierarchy and explore strategies to meet identified needs.

Lesson Content

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a popular motivation theory that is widely referred to in educational circles. In this theory, Abraham Maslow suggested that before individuals meet their full potential, they need to satisfy a series of needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs provides a reminder and framework that our students are less likely to perform at their full potential if their basic needs are unmet.

Parent Partnership

  • What did you identify as your lowest level of need that has not been met yet?
  • What are your plans to achieve that level?
  • Who did you identify as people that help you?
  • How can I help you set goals and support you?

In class we discussed how we could help others meet their needs. This is a great time to talk with your child about other members of your immediate and extended family, your neighborhood, or community that need help meeting their basic needs. Have a conversation about how you can help them.

Discussion Prompts:

  • Now that you have an awareness of your own needs, how does it explain the things that worry you?
  • How will your needs be different when you transition into the next grade or as you grow?
  • If you know that all students desire to be a part of a group and to belong with others, how will that change the way you treat your peers?
  • How does this change the way you treat your family members?

The discussion prompts above can be used to connect with your child. Choose the prompts that would be most meaningful based on the needs of your own child.

Extending the Learning

  • Watch the Ted Talk titled “Measuring What Makes Life Worthwhile” by Chip Conley. After watching the video, have your student choose one of the following prompts to expound on.
  • Share with your student some of the things you are doing in your own life to make life meaningful. This is a great opportunity to connect with your child and help them understand that “they” make your life meaningful.
  • Have a conversation with your child about one thing they could start doing today that would be meaningful. Create a plan to identify and celebrate the meaning in your life.
  • Discuss the names of people at home, in the neighborhood, or community that can help your family meet these needs. (food pantries, school social worker, information about fee waivers, anti-bullying school programs, school counselors, electric company grants or fee waivers, homeless shelters, school programs and clubs, mentor programs, etc.).


  • Surround yourself with people who lift, build, and inspire you.
  • Avoid getting caught up in negativity.
  • Monitor your social media use. Chart your use for 3-7 days to see if you can identify patterns. Make sure you are balanced and that what you are viewing is healthy and positive.
  • Increase your circle of friends by saying hello to someone new every day.
  • Study Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and advocate for yourself so that your needs are fulfilled.

The strategies above were reviewed in class with your student.

  • Are there specific strategies that would be helpful for your child?
  • Is there an area they need extra support?
  • How do you implement these strategies in your own life?
  • What other strategies do you implement in your own life?
  • How have these strategies and others made your life more meaningful?

Downloadable Parent Guide

Download and print this parent guide in PDF format. 

Are you a teacher? We have a scope and sequence and lesson plans we would love to share with you.