Decision-making arrows

Lesson 1: Why Do We Make Decisions? (Grades: K-3)

Sep 12, 2020 • Studies Weekly

Learning Objectives:

Students will understand what a decision is.

Students will recognize decisions that they make.

Students will understand the importance of making good decisions using information that is available to them.

Students will understand that when making decisions as a group, not everyone will get what they want.

Students will practice making a group decision by voting.

Vocabulary and Definitions:

decision: the act of or need for making up one’s mind

compromise: the act of settling differences by making mutual concessions

majority: a number that is larger than half of the total

Think Deeply:

Who are the people in your school who make decisions? What are some of the decisions that they make to keep students safe and help them learn?

Lesson Plan:

  1. Remind the students that a decision is a choice that a person or group of people make to take a particular action. Then, pose the following questions for discussion:
    1. What are some of the decisions that people make every day?
    2. What is one decision that you made today?
  2. Using the graphic organizer for this lesson, invite students to read the article as a class or individually.
  3. Tell the students that learning to make good decisions is very important. Sometimes, other people help us make decisions.
  4. Have a class discussion about the following questions:
    1. Who helps you make decisions?
    2. What do they do to help you decide? (Refer specifically to the people that the students mention in response to the previous question.)
  5. Explain to the students that in order to make good decisions, you need information. Pose the following question to gather students’ responses:
    1. What information do you need to know to decide what clothes to wear? (Answers may vary. Possibilities include: the weather, the activity, the dress code, etc.)
  6. Show the students an image of a snowy day. Then, have a class discussion about the following question:
    1. If the weather looked like this, how would you dress?
  7. Show the students an image of a summer day, then one of a rainy day. For each image, ask the students:
    1. Would you wear the same clothes as you did before?
    2. Why did your decision change?
    3. What information helped you make your decision?
  8. Remind the students that they are part of many different communities and groups. Pose the following questions for discussion:
    1. What are some communities and groups that you are part of? (Answers may vary. Possibilities include: family, class, school, team, friend group, club, church, etc.)
    2. When have you been part of a group decision? (If desired, begin with an example of a class decision or vote to stimulate the students’ thinking.) (Answers may vary. Possibilities include: choosing a movie for the family to watch, choosing where to go on vacation, choosing what game to play, choosing what story to read together, choosing where to go to eat, etc.)
    3. When a group makes a decision, does everyone always agree?
    4. Does everyone get what they want?
    5. What can the members of a group do to make a decision?
  9. Explain what it means to compromise. Have a class discussion about the following questions:
    1. Have you ever had to compromise? What happened?
  10. Read the following scenarios to the students. Have them turn and talk to a partner about what they could do. Then, have them discuss their ideas with the class.
  11. There is only one empty swing. Both Ashley and Kaitlin want to swing. What can they do?
    1. Both Andrew and Zane want to read the same book, but there is only one copy in the library. What can they do?
    2. Explain to the students that sometimes, compromise isn’t possible or doesn’t work. Pose the following questions for class discussion:
  12. What is another way that members of a group can make decisions? (If they do not say “vote,” provide them with an example that points them in the right direction.)
  13. When a group of people votes, not everyone will vote for the same thing. How do you use the votes to make a decision? (The majority rules.)
  14. Tell the students that they are going to practice making a group decision. Choose something that is practical for your class (i.e., a class party, a reward for homework, a special class project, free time activity, etc.). Then, ask the students to come up with ideas for the reward or activity and make a list on the board. For third grade classes, have the students brainstorm what information they would need to make a good decision. (cost, time, permission, necessary items, helpers, etc.)
  15. Before voting, remind the students that when a group makes a decision, it may not turn out to be what they personally wanted, but the majority (over half of the people voting) determines what the decision will be.
  16. Have the class take a vote and plan for their chosen activity or reward.
  17. Review the vocabulary words and make sure that the students understand what they mean.

Weekly Assessment:

Write about how people can work together to make decisions.

Studies Weekly lesson plan, playground
Studies Weekly lesson plan, rainy day
Studies Weekly lesson plan, Snowy Day
Rights of Citizens graphic organizer
Learn more about the NEW Social Studies curriculum.