Decision Making Lesson & Group Activity

For years I struggled with how to teach decision making more interactively.  I wanted students to know and understand the process and be able to apply it to important decisions in their lives, but I also wanted an activity where students could see the process in action.  I didn’t want them to just complete a worksheet going through the steps, but actually participate in a real example with the entire class being involved.  This lesson and group activity meets that criteria, and engages the entire class in the decision making process.

Class Time: 2 periods (43 minutes)

Class Size:  14

PA Standards

  • 11.2.9 A  Solve dilemmas using a practical reasoning approach (decision making process).
  • 11.3.6 C  Analyze factors that effect food choices.


  • Divide students into pairs and give each group an envelop with slips of the decision making process inside.  Students are to put the slips into the correct order and when they are ready I will give a head nod as to whether it’s correct or not.  If not, they must try again.  I will correct them this time by pulling out any slips in the wrong order and they must continue until the order is correct.


  • I then ask them to share ideas of things that might get them in trouble at home, school or even with the law.  We discuss various things that should be taken into consideration before making an important decision.
  • Next I show and explain all of the steps of the decision making process using this free powerpoint from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Day 2

  • Read Dani’s Story and together identify her problem, values, goals and other circumstances that might need to be considered before exploring options.
  • Give each student or pair of students an option card as to how Dani could handle her situation.  Students orally share their options so students can hear all of the possible choices.
  • Students then must come up a list of advantages and disadvantages that apply to their option card and to Dani’s values, goals and circumstances.
  • As we go through each option, students share their advantages and disadvantages and then we discuss a few more questions to help rule out any otions that are unsafe, illegal, unrealistic or impossible.  We also discuss what options are worth exploring, who she might need to talk to and discuss any other important information she might need to consider or know.
  • Finally students decide as a group what the best decision is based on what has been shared and then discuss where her decision might lead her, how she might feel about it the next day, what others would think as well as how her reputation or character might be affected.
  • To conclude the activity and lesson, I pass out a “Now and Later” candy to each student leaving them with this important message:  “The decisions you make NOW will affect you LATER!”


  • Students will take a quiz on the decision making process and use it to work through another decision making scenario.



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