The Making Choices module is meant to give students experience in choosing one option over another, which forms the heart of the electoral process. To access free printer-friendly PDF versions of lesson plans and worksheets, please subscribe to our email list using the form in the sidebar or bottom of this page.
Supplies: paper, drawing utensils, printer (optional for extra credit)
- Pick a simple topic that the student understands. The topic “toys” is a good starting topic.
- Ask the student to draw three toys the student wants on a piece of paper. As an example, the teacher should draw three toys on his or her own paper. The teacher should draw simple things that studentren can understand, such as a ball, toy car, or slide.
- Ask the student to explain the three drawings and why the student likes each toy. The teacher should go first.
- Ask the student to draw a circle around the toy the student wants the most. If the student can only have one toy, which one would it be? The student should explain the choice. The teacher should demonstrate by drawing a circle around one toy on the teacher’s’ drawing and explaining the choice.
- Ask the student to draw a circle around the next toy the student wants. If they can have one more toy, which would it be? The teacher should again demonstrate first with an explanation, and then have the student follow. During the student’s explanation, ask the student why the uncircled toy was left for last. This is the most difficult part of the exercise. Give the student a chance to respond and prompt if necessary. However, if the student is frustrated or uninterested, move on.
- Pick another topic and repeat steps 2 through 5. Potential topics include food, places, clothes, and movies/TV shows.
- Each round should take 5-10 minutes. This activity can be adjusted to a larger classroom with only one or two rounds of sharing.
- Extra credit. Print out the Making Choices Beginner Worksheet. Ask the student to circle the favorite item in each group and explain each choice. Engage the student for at least 1-2 minutes on each group of items by asking questions or promoting the different options.
Supplies: paper, pencil, drawing utensils (optional), internet (optional)
- The basic lesson outline is the same, but there are several changes for intermediate students.
- Ask the student to pick a topic, or choose a topic based on the student’s interests. For example, if the student enjoys basketball, ask the student to pick three favorite basketball players. If the student enjoys fashion, ask the student to pick three favorite dress designs. If the student enjoys video games, ask the student to pick the three best video games. Be creative with the topics. The key is to match the student’s interest to ensure a high level of engagement.
- The student may draw the three items or write the names, according to interest and age. This is also a good chance to learn how to spell words of interest.
- Ask the student to make a first choice, and later the second and last choice, as described above. Question the older student more carefully about the choices.
- During the explanation steps, you may wish to incorporate the internet or other interactive resources. For example, the student could point to three different dresses on a shopping website to explain the reasoning. If the student chose three pieces of music, play three online music videos during the explanation step.
- Repeat for several rounds using different topics.
- Each round may last from 5-20 minutes, depending on the topic and level of student engagement. Aim for fewer topics with longer sessions and higher levels of engagement.
- Extra credit. If the student has completed the [Making Improvements module], ask the student to think of something that is even better than the first choice. Then, ask the student how to change the last choice item so that it is better than the first choice item.
- Extra credit. If the student has completed the [Understanding Others module], ask the student to create a list of presents for others, such as parents, siblings, or friends, and circle the best present for the recipient. Select from people with diverse interests and make sure to discuss the suitability of the choices for that particular recipient.
Supplies: paper, pencil, online or physical resources as appropriate, phone with video camera (optional for extra credit)
- Follow the guidelines for the intermediate student with minor adjustments.
- Pick only one or two topics of high interest to the student.
- Ask the student to prepare a short report and presentation, according to the topic of relevance, ranking the first, second, and third choices for a particular topic. The report should consist of complete sentences describing the key features of each of the items and the reason for the rankings. The presentation may include resources from the internet, physical props, or other sources, as well as a verbal summary of the report. The expected length and complexity of the report should correspond with the student’s ability. Question the student about the rankings and arguments.
- Depending on the complexity of the expected work, the student may prepare the report and oral presentation during independent study time as homework.
- Again, the key to a high level of engagement is to match the student’s interests. The student should eagerly go into details on a topic of personal interest.
- Extra credit. If the student has completed the [Facts Versus Opinions module], ask the student to label the arguments in the written report as facts or opinions. Create a table with two columns, labeled “Facts” and “Opinions” and have the student add each argument to the correct side.
- Extra credit. If the student has completed the [Public Speaking module], record the student’s oral presentation three times. Ask the student to view and select the best version of the oral presentation and provide specific reasons.