Health - Decision making with critical thinking in school and home
Activity and Lesson plan (middle grades)

Overview

Decisions are often made subconsciously and emotionally without sufficient investigation or critical thinking. To think critically about a problem or opportunity by using a decision making process can be beneficial to live healthy lives as well as being beneficial in all other aspects of our lives.

The purpose of these activities is to have students develop a decision making process to think critically about health issues. In this unit they will learn a decision making process, apply it to historical situtations, and school and home scenarios in the hopes they will transfer their learning to make better decisions in their future lives.

Background information:

While this unit can stand alone it was created to be used after an introductory study of Health, that defined health and wellness, identified traits, categories, risks, and benefits.

Big ideas, concepts, facts, and outcomes

Decision-making skills to enhance health.

Big ideas: Decision-making skills are needed to identify, implement, and sustain health-enhancing behaviors. This includes essential steps needed to make healthy decisions applied to health, safety, and social issues that enables people to individually or in collaboration with others improve their quality of life.

Related concepts and facts

  • Health and safety problems are related to decision making.
  • The better a person knows them self, the better decisions they will make.
  • Knowing social skills and better social interactions improves communication and getting along with people.
  • Thinking about a problem before experiencing it will help make better decisions.
  • There are positive and negative consequences for all decisions.

Outcome

  1. Describe the relationships between making good decisions and being healthy.
  2. Describe a decision making process that includes identification of a problem, alternative solutions with positive and negative consequences, and implementation suggestions.
  3. Use a decision making process to make safe and healthy decisions that improve their quality of life.

Specific outcomes -

5.12.1 Examine barriers that can hinder healthy decision making.
5.12.2 Determine the value of applying a thoughtful decision-making process in health-related situations.
5.12.3 Justify when individual or collaborative decision making is appropriate.
5.12.4 Generate alternatives to health-related issues or problems.
5.12.5 Predict the potential short and long term impact of each alternative on self and others.
5.12.6 Defend the healthy choice when making decisions.
5.12.7 Evaluate the effectiveness of health related decisions.

Inquiry in the Practice of health

Health is the practice of making observations, isolating variables based on those observations to establish cause and effect to create explanations that can be applied for a healthy life.

Related concepts and facts

  • Observation and verifiable evidence can be used to determine safe and healthy situations.
  • Events have different and similar effects that can be positive and negative consequences on safety and health.
  • Cause and effect are associated with variables, which are used to create explanations and models, which in turn are used to understand the world and make predictable decisions.

Outcome

Use observable verifiable evidence of cause and effect and their explanations and models to reason with successful predictable usefulness.

Specific outcomes -

  1. Use observable and logical information related to health and safety to solve problems to to improve the quality of life.

Pedagogical Overview

Teacher Background information:

  1. Scholastic article: Teens and Decision Making: What Brain Science Reveals
  2. Discover article The Young and the Riskless by Kayt Sukel
  3. Decision Making, Critical Thinking, and Change Processes
  4. Decisions and Decisions Scenario page

Activity Sequence to provide sufficient opportunities for students to achieve the targeted outcomes.

  1. Introduction to decisions and decision making.
  2. Invent six steps for decision making
  3. Introduce detail for the six steps with the decision making process fact sheet.
  4. Students select ideas they feel are important to consider when making a decision for each of the six steps.
  5. Present the Six Step Decision Making Cycle.
  6. Present historical, school, and home scenarios for students to use the six step decision making process to complete a Six Step Decision Making Cycle work sheet.
  7. Share, discuss, and process results with scoring suggestions.
  8. Have students summarize the importance of knowing and using a decision making process.

Focus questions

Focus question - How do people make good decisions?

Sub focus questions:

  1. How do people make decisions?
  2. What influences their decisions?
  3. What different options do they have that are available?
  4. How are options or choices determined?
  5. How are positive and negative consequences determined for the options?
  6. How are the options evaluated?
  7. What steps do good problem solvers follow?
  8. What steps do people who make good decisions take?

Resources and Materials

  1. Fact sheet Six step decision making process
  2. Fact sheet with Decision making, critical thinking, and change process.
    This fact sheet includes the Six step decision making process fact sheet, and strategies to deal with change, refusals, and illogical thinking.
  3. Blank Six Step Decision Making worksheet as a Cycle
  4. Decision Making, Critical Thinking, and Change Processes
  5. Decisions and Decisions Scenarios
  6. Scholastic article: Teens and Decision Making: What Brain Science Reveals
  7. Discover article The Young and the Riskless by Kayt Sukel

Scoring guide suggestions (rubric)

Decision-making with critical thinking

Top level:

  • Uses critical thinking to make decisions by using a process that includes focus on a process, accurate information, identification of a problem, analysis, generation of alternative options and choices with positive and negative consequences, implementation, and evaluation suggestions and describes benefits for a comprehensive decision making process.
  • Uses critical thinking to make decisions with a process that includes identification of a problem, alternative solutions with positive and negative consequences, and implementation suggestions and describes benefits for a comprehensive decision making process.
  • Makes decisions with a multiple step process that uses several appropriate steps for making decisions and excludes some that may be necessary to make better critical decisions.
  • Makes decisions subconsciously and emotionally or in a manner that believes will result in the best rewards personally, socially (parents, teachers, friends, ...)

Bottom level:

Suggested procedure:

  1. Discuss when people need to make decisions and how better decisions can be made if a person knows strategies for making better decisions.
  2. Introduce the six step decision making process
  3. Provide students with different scenarios or situations to practice using a six step decision making process.

Lesson Plans and Activities

Introduction to decisions and decision making

Materials:

  1. Critical thinking and decision making lab notes
  2. My thoughts on critical thinking and decision making steps lab notes
  3. Worksheet with Six step decision making process
  4. Blank Worksheet for a Six Step Decision Making Cycle

Focus question:

How do people make good decisions?

Sub focus questions:

  1. How do people make decisions?
  2. What influences their decisions?
  3. What different options do people have to help them?
  4. How are options or choices determined?
  5. How are positive and negative consequences determined for the options?
  6. How are the options evaluated?
  7. What steps do good problem solvers or critcal thinkers use to make good decisions?

Learning outcomes:

  • Decision can be made with little or no thinking or with deep comprehensive critical thinking
  • A person who uses a comprehensive decision making process is more likely to think critically and make better decisions.

Suggested procedure:

  1. Discuss when people need to make decisions and how better decisions can be made if a person knows how to use critical thinking and a decision making process to make better decisions.
  2. Introduce the six step decision making process
  3. Provide students with different scenarios or situations to practice using a six step decision making process.

Scoring guide for Decision-making with critical thinking

Top level:

  • Uses critical thinking to make decisions by using a process that includes focus on a process, accurate information, identification of a problem, analysis, generation of alternative options and choices with positive and negative consequences, implementation, and evaluation suggestions and describes benefits for a comprehensive decision making process.
  • Uses critical thinking to make decisions with a process that includes identification of a problem, alternative solutions with positive and negative consequences, and implementation suggestions and describes benefits for a comprehensive decision making process.
  • Makes decisions with a multiple step process that uses several appropriate steps for making decisions and excludes some that may be necessary to make better critical decisions.
  • Makes decisions subconsciously and emotionally or in a manner that believes will result in the best rewards personally, socially (parents, teachers, friends, ...)

Bottom level

Exploration

  1. Give students lab notes one
  2. Put students in groups
  3. Tell them to answer the questions:
    1. How do people make decisions?
    2. What influences their decisions?
    3. What different options do people have to help them?
    4. How are options or choices determined?
    5. How are positive and negative consequences determined for the options?
    6. How are the options evaluated?
  4. Let students share their answers. Accept all answers during exploration.

Invention Activities

  1. After students share their answers with the class, go over each question and have them fill in additional information from below as you think necessary.
    1. How do people make decisions? Go with their gut. React without thinking. Use critical thinking to develop and use a process that follows a series of steps:
    2. What influences their decisions? Their emotions, past experiences, values, parents, friends, desire, rewards ...
    3. What different options do people have to help them?They can make a decision based on critical thinking, a logical process, consider what other authority figures would suggest, seek help, listen to a friend's advice, ...
    4. How are options or choices determined? Brain stormed ideas, from past experiences, listening to what others suggest ...
    5. How are positive and negative consequences determined for the options? Brain storm, from past experiences, listening to what others suggest ...
    6. How are the options evaluated? With the consequences, ethics, legal, moral, and values applied to consequences and risks.
  2. Give students lab notes two
  3. Ask. Do you think people who use critical thinking and make good decisions use different ways to make decisions? Yes.
  4. Ask. How do you think they are different? Some probably are more like guesses, others think about a few things, and others are a lot more comprehensive in what they think about before making a decisions.
  5. Tell students, With out doing any research what are the steps that come to your mind that you would think of using? Accept all answers. This will assess what they might remember from previous experiences.
  6. Respond to student's answers to the previous question, if possible by relating their answers to the six steps in the six step decision making process.
  7. Tell students that critcal thinkers use a decision making process that includes steps? For example a six step process might include:
    1. Identify a problem or opportunity
    2. Focus on the situation and collect information
    3. Identify choices, solutions, and implementation
    4. Analyze consequences and values for all situtations
    5. Make a decision and implement
    6. Evaluate.
  8. Tell them that knowing what each step is helps people to think more critically about a situation when making a decision. However, the more a person uses a decision making process the more they have to consider.
  9. Tell them you are going to share a very comprehensive fact sheet that has these six steps with several ideas for each step. And in groups they are to review the ideas for each step and write on their lab notes page ideas that they want to include for each step to use to make decisions for some scenarios they will be given later. For example. Step one could write - be sure to accurately define the problem and consider out of the box ideas. Remind them the are to take the ideas and make them so they can use them.
  10. Share students notes and check to see if they are missing any important ideas.

Discovery Activities

  1. Give students a Six step decision making cycle worksheet lab sheet.
  2. Tell them they are going to use the lab notes they created with the cycle workseet to present a decision making process for different scenarios.
  3. Ask. Why they think the steps are in a circle. Because the steps don't have to worked on one at a time from first to sixth. Yes. It is not only okay to skip around it is probably a good idea.

Historical example:

 

Scenarios can be chosed from the Decisions and Decisions Scenario page.

Focus question - How would the decision making process fit with historical decisions.

Suggested procedure:

 

In school example:

  1. Present the following in school scenario and ask how they feel about the situation? Ask how they feel about each person? What affects those feelings? (What values, ethics, rules, laws...) Would they feel differently if one of the students was a friend? Brother or sister?
    • It is between classes with everyone is in class. The halls are empty as you round a corner and see someone you know really well is taking stuff from a locker that you know isn't their locker. You quickly back up and wait till you hear the locker close and he or she moves into another classroom.
      Later that day you hear that the students whose locker you saw your classmate taking stuff from has reported several items stolen (cards, gift cards, and some other things their friends had given them in the morning for his or her birthday) What do you do?
  2. After discussing how they feel, tell them they are going to use their high lighted worksheet and fill in the Six Step Decision Making Cycle worksheet to identify and implement a decision.
  3. Share, discuss, and process decision making results with the scoring guide suggestions.

At a friend's home example:

  1. Present the following home scenario and ask how they feel about the situation? Ask how they feel about the other person? How they would feel about saying yes or no? What affects those feelings? (What values, ethics, rules, laws...) Would they feel differently if the person was a brother or sister?
    • You are at a friend's house, alone, with him or her. He or she stands up and says come on... Lets have a (drink wine, beer, ...; smoke ...; or watch a video ... ) He or she has poured two drinks and reaches one to you ... ; He or she pulls two cigarettes and lights up handing one to you; types in the search box and presses return ... What do you do?
    1. Discuss how they feel.
    2. Tell them to use their high lighted worksheet and fill in the Six Step Decision Making Cycle worksheet to identify and implement a decision.
    3. Discuss after they complete the worksheets. Be sure positive and negative ideas are included for each decision.
  2. Share, discuss, and process results with scoring guide suggestions, rubric.
  3. Have students summarize the importance of knowing and using a decision making process.

Personal example:

  1. Create your own personal scenario. It may be a situation you had to make or just know about, that you are willing to write about and share...
  2. You may think about your decision in what ever way you feel comfortable with. You can review what you actually did or you may change what you did and review it differently either positively or negatively. It is okay for the situation to be changed and made fictional. We are looking at the process and different ideas can provide learning experiences.
  3. Use the Six Step Decision Making Cycle worksheet to guide and record your ideas to share later.

  4. Share an discuss in groups and as a class.

 

Summary

Have students complete a summary for the unit on the lab notes summary page.

  • What was most import for you to learn about critical thinking?
  • What is the importance of knowing a decision making process and how can you continue to get better at being a critical thinker?

Lab Notes

My thoughts on critical thinking and decision making (1)

How do people make decisions?

 

 

 

What influences their decisions?

 

 

 

What different options do people have to help them?

 

 

 

How are options or choices determined?

 

 

 

How are positive and negative consequences determined for the options?

 

 

 

How are the options evaluated?

 

 

 

 

My thoughts on critical thinking and decision making steps (2)

Do you think people who use critical thinking and make good decisions use different ways to make decisions? Yes - No

With out doing any research what are the steps that come to your mind that you would think of using?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use the six step decision making with critical thinking process fact sheet to include ideas you think are important for each step.

1. Identify a problem or opportunity

 

 

 

2. Focus on the situation and collect information

 

 

 

3. Identify choices, solutions, and implementation

 

 

 

4. Analyze consequences and values for all situtations

 

 

 

5. Make a decision and implement

 

 

 

6. Evaluate.

 

 

 

 

 

Six step decision making cycle worksheet

 

Nine step decision making diagram

 

Hint: Decision making process steps and suggestions

Notes:

 

 

Summary

 What was most import for you to learn about critical thinking?

 

 

 

 

What is the importance of knowing a decision making process and how can you continue to get better at being a critical thinker?

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
homeofbob.com & schoolofbob.com