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46icon.gif (3991 bytes)Making Decisions

Objective
To learn how to make decisions through a process of scientific reasoning.

Background
Children in grades 4-6 can learn to make decisions other than by default, by whim or chance, on the basis of emotions, or because of influence from others. They can learn to make sound, healthy decisions by using a modification of the scientific method. By teaching children to approach decisions logically – by assessing information and considering cause and effect – educators can help children realize that there may be more than one answer to a problem and that making decisions requires careful thought. This lesson helps children develop tools that they can use in a variety of situations requiring decisions. When this approach is practiced and becomes familiar, it can provide a way for children to decide not to use drugs and or make other harmful choices in life.

Activities
Explain to the class that you are going to teach about a scientific way to make decisions. The steps are:

  1. State what the decision is about.

  2. State possible alternative choices.

  3. Gather information about all alternatives.

  4. Decide from among the alternatives.

Explain that this approach to decision making requires students to consider each alternative carefully, to gather information, to look at the consequences of each alternative, and to weigh which is the best option.

Divide the class into small groups and give each one a vignette (see PDF worksheet file). Have them discuss the problem posed and determine possible solutions. Have them follow the guide questions to determine as a group what they should do. Present each group's decision to the class.

Resources
Decision-making vignettes (see PDF worksheet file).

Teacher tips

  • Introduce or conclude this lesson by conducting a science experiment using the scientific method.

  • Supervise the groups to make sure that they complete the class exercise.

Download Activity Worksheet
getacro.gif (712 bytes)This worksheet is a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. If you already have Acrobat Reader, the document will open directly when you click on the text above.  If you need a copy of Adobe Acrobat reader, click here or on the "Get Acrobat Reader" icon.  If you would prefer to save the file to your computer, right click (click and hold for Macintosh users) on the icon and choose "save target as."

Source
Learning to Live Drug-Free, A Curriculum Model for Prevention, U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program

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