Planning and Decision-Making, Part II


Target Age Group: Middle and High School

Topics Covered: Goal-setting, decision-making

Time Required: 60 minutes

What Will the Students Learn?

  • Good decision-making skills, such as researching and evaluating alternatives

State Contents Standards Key
California: History/Social Science: Principles of Economics 12.1.1-3;
Florida: SS.D.1.2, SS.D.1.1,
Indiana: none
Virginia: none

Materials Needed:
See the Business Decisions Game Overview for a list of all materials needed.

Teacher Preparation:

1. For the opening activity, you will facilitate a group discussion that will walk the class through the basic Decision Process Model that the students learned about in the last lesson. You will ask them if they can identify the five steps in the model. (The correct five steps are listed below.)

  • Establish the criteria
  • Examine the options
  • Weigh the pros and cons
  • Make the decision
  • Evaluation the results

2. Write the chart below, with movie names, times, and ticket prices, up on the board. (Feel free to change these if you know of movies your students will be more interested in):

Movie Show Show Times Ticket Price
Spiderman 3 7:00 9:15 11:15 $5
Transformers 4:00 7:30 9:30 $10
The Bourne Ultimatum 4:00 7:00 9:15 11:15 $8
High School Musical 2 4:00 7:00 9:30 $5

3. Most of today’s lesson will involve having the kids practice decision-making skills by playing a business simulation game called “The Business Decisions Game.” You should familiarize yourself with the Game Overview and print out the various game components as listed above under “Materials Required.” Have these materials ready to hand out to the students.

Opening Activity (15 minutes)

1. Tell the class that you’re going to pretend that a donor has given enough money for the whole class to go to the movies. The only catch is that the whole group has to come to consensus on which movie to attend. The group has ten minutes in which to make this decision. They can pick the movie and the particular show time from the list you have written on the board. There’s enough money for everyone to get a ticket AND a large soda and popcorn if you attend a $5 movie. If the group chooses a $8 movie, there’s sufficient money for the movie tickets but NOT for any drink or food. If the group chooses the $10 movie, they will each have to contribute $2 towards the ticket price. Check your watch and note the time – and only devote ten minutes or less to the group discussion:

2. Now facilitate a discussion among the students. Ask them to identify from last week the five steps in the Decision Process Model. After the five steps have been correctly identified, write them on the board.

3. Ask the students: What kind of movie do you want to attend? (Point out to them that this is the decision making stage of establishing criteria.)

4. Now ask them: Do you want to attend one that allows you to get a drink and food? (Point out to them that this is the stage of examining the options.)

5. Now ask them to identify the pros and cons of different movie choices. You may want to write these down on the board. (Point out to them that this is the stage of weighing the pros and cons.)

6. Now make them come to a decision. There may be a lot of disagreement – remind them that NO ONE will get to go to the movies if the whole group doesn’t come to a consensus.

7. After the decision is made, take a few moments to debrief the discussion with the youth. Referring to the five steps written on the board, review briefly how they went through these various steps naturally.

8. End this opening activity by telling them that by identifying these steps and being aware of them, they can use them as a pattern in their own decision-making. This will become more and more important as they mature, since they will need to made decisions in the future that matter a lot more than choosing a movie. In particular, as they age, they will be making more and more important decisions about money, and so practicing these decision-making steps will empower them to make wise choices.

Main Activity (45 minutes)

1. For the main activity, break the class down into 3-4 teams and play the Business Decisions Game.

2. Five minutes before the end of the class period, end the game and debrief the students’ experience with it:

  • Did any of the teams manage to stay in business?
  • What things occurred in the game that made good decision-making difficult?
  • What decisions did they make that feel good about?
  • What decisions did they make that turned out to be unwise?