Bullying Thermometer

Goals of the exercise: There are many types of bullying. How do you decide which is worse or more harmful? This exercise explores the types of bullying behavior and encourages the participants to discuss them, their meaning and their impact. Learn different types of bullying behavior, discuss the impact of bullying, discuss how  differences (gender, generational, social) can affect the perception of bullying behaviors.
Age of the participants: 13+
Number of participants: 16+
Duration of the exercise: 40 minutes
Materials: Cards containing the words written in the following groups














Practical Joke

Hate Speech






Name Calling

Making a threat

Posing a threat


Step by step

Part A (5 minutes)

In a larger group the facilitator should lead a SHORT discussion using the questions below. This portion of the exercise is to help the participants begin the discussion on types of bullying.

  • What are the types of bullying?
  • Are all types of bullying equal?
  • Do all types affect people in the same way?

Part B (25 minutes)

  1. Divide the group into teams (8-10 people works well).
  2. Give each team a set of the activity cards.
  3. Ask them to go over each card and discuss what that method of bullying means. Ask them, as a group, to develop a definition of each word.
  4. Once they all agree on what the different types of bullying mean, have them put the cards in order from the “coolest” type (least harmful) to the “hottest” type (most harmful).
  5. Invite the groups to share the order of their cards with the larger group.


Process your activity asking some of the questions below to allow the group to express their opinion.

  • What did you learn about the topic of bullying today?
  • Do you think there are types of bullying that are more harmful than the other types?
  • Can you think of times in your life when you or someone you know was bullied?
  • How do you think being bullied makes people feel?
  • If you or someone you know is being bullied what they can do to help or to stop the bullying?
  • If someone started bullying you, who would you talk to about the situation? Who would help you?
  • Now that you know more about bullying what do you think you can do to make a difference at school? In which ways you could help someone who was being bullied?

Authorship/adaptation or source: Adapted by Associazione Culturale Strauss. Formerly adapted by Mark Mains, Extension Specialist for 4-H Youth Development, University of Kentucky from training materials supplied by Deana Reed, Extension Specialist for 4-H Youth Development, University of Kentucky. Originally adapted from “Breaking the Code” by Kansas State University Extension


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