Decision Making: Get Their Priorities Straight

Overview: With so many choices available, students need a firm foundation in wise decision making. This exercise helps them set priorities that are realistic and attainable, both individually and in groups.
Resources: Teacher: none. Student: pencil, paper.
Teacher Preparation: none.
Procedure Ideas:

1. For a group activity, the class brainstorms at least 10 suggestions for where to go on field trips for the remainder of the year.
2. Write suggestions on a large sheet of paper.
3. Give each student three small sticky-notes, instructing them to write a “1” on one, a “3” on one and a “5” on one.
4. Explain that their “5” sticker will go by their first choice, the second choice will get their “3” and the third choice gets “1” vote, and that the numbers will be totalled to determine the winner.
5. Students systematically go up and place their stickers next to their choices.
6. Total the results to find the top choice.
7. Discuss with the class the various thoughts, feelings and processes considered while they were making their decisions. How did they arrive at their decisions? What did they consider and compare? How did they use the process of elimination?
8. Have students pick a topic (examples are below) from which to make a list of 10 possibilities.
9. Instruct students to eliminate seven of the items from their list, leaving the three items of most importance to them.
10. Have them explain some of the thinking involved in making their decisions.

Variations/Options: Who are three people you’d like to meet; If you win the lottery, what five items that will fit in a certain size cardboard box would you buy; pick 10 places you’d visit on an around-the-world trip;