Jessica Sousa

Printable Version: Resilience

Before You Read


  • Think-pair-share: Think of one of your favorite movies. What happens in the movie? Do the characters in the movie need to deal with problems or challenges? What do they do to solve problems? 


  •  Look at the title of the article below. How do you think a carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee are similar? How are they different? Work with a group to create your best answer to share with the class.

Images retrieved from:,, 


  • Look up the word adversity in the dictionary. Brainstorm and try to think of as many synonyms for this word as you can. Scan the text and circle any words you see that are similar to this idea. 


Read the following story.

A Carrot, an Egg, and a Cup of Coffee

A young woman went to her mother. She told her mother about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to be okay and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one was created.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She took the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she took the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the daughter replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity. This challenge was boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being in the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a flexible heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the smell and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Word Count: 545

Time: _______
WPM: _______

Text adapted from: 

 After You Read


Answer the questions:

  1. Why did the daughter go to visit her mother?
    1. She tried to spend more time with her mother at home. 
    2. She wanted to know how to cook better food to eat. 
    3. She was very tired of everything that she needed to do. 
    4. She thought her life was too difficult at that moment. 
  2. Why did the mother boil the carrot, egg, and coffee bean?
    1. To show foods that will recover energy.
    2. To explain how to think about challenges.
    3. To compare common cooking methods.
    4. To describe a different way to relieve stress.
  3. According to the story, why is the coffee bean unique?
    1. It changes the water. 
    2. It is much smaller.
    3. It turns into a liquid.
    4. It has a dark color. 
  4. What did the mother say was similar between the carrot, egg, and coffee bean?
    1. The shape of each item
    2. The amount of nutrients
    3. The type of cooking pot
    4. The temperature of the water
  5. Why does the mother make her daughter touch the carrot, egg, and coffee?
    1. To feel how hot they were
    2. To compare their textures
    3. To see if they were cooked
    4. To mix them together


  1. Think of a time when you had to do something difficult. What did you do to overcome that challenge?
  2. Watch the following video: A Lesson On Resilience

What are some ways that you can be more like the coffee bean when there is adversity in your life?

  1. Some people suggest using humor to become more resilient. For one minute, think about three funny things that happened to you yesterday and write them down using the past tense. Then, share your three things with a small group. Notice that it is very easy to smile and laugh when you think and talk about these memories. 


  • This story uses metaphors to compare different ideas with something you are more familiar with. A metaphor may say something such as “My life is a movie” which is not literal and is meant to be a comparison. A simile is similar, but uses specific signal words (like or as) to describe the metaphor. For example:  “My life is like a movie.” “That dog is as big as a bus.”
    • What are the comparisons in this reading? Are they metaphors or similes? Create three of your own metaphors to describe different ways to react to adversity. 


  • Think about someone you admire that shows resilience. Describe this person, what has happened to them, and why you admire them in a short paragraph or essay . 
  • Do some research and read about one of these stories:  Prepare a short summary to present to the class about this child and how they show resilience. 

*Teacher's Note:

Comprehension Questions: Answers

  1. d
  2. b
  3. a
  4. d
  5. b


This text is useful for:

  • introducing narrative forms
  • figurative speech
  • guessing meaning from context

Strategy Based Questions

  1. Based on the context, what is the closest meaning to the underlined word fragile:

“The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.”

  1. very small
  2. too sticky 
  3. not cooked
  4. not strong


 This text useful for:

  • comparing/contrasting three different items and their adjectives

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