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Everyone needs to explore options.
Decision-making skills can be learned.
Decisions are based on values.


Students will practice decision-making by choosing between competing alternatives.


List of rank order questions. (See below.)


Teacher discretion.


Each day of our lives we must make choices between competing alternatives. Some of them are minor decisions: "Shall I stay home tonight and watch T.V. or go to a friend's house for the evening? Shall I wear my blue or my white sweater?" And some are major decisions: "Shall I buy a car or save my money for college?" "Shall I go to school this summer or work?"

This strategy gives students practice in choosing from among alternatives and in publicly affirming and explaining or defending their choices. It demonstrates simply and clearly that many issues require more thoughtful consideration than we tend to give them.

This activity can be easily adapted to content areas. For example, use to teach graphing in math class by charting student responses.


The teacher explains to the class that he/she is going to ask them some questions which will require them to think carefully about their beliefs and feelings. Give them three (or four) alternative choices for responding to each question and ask them to decide which would be their first, second, and third choice.

This can be done verbally, and ask students to raise their hands if they would like to share their response. Call on several students for each question used. Emphasize the acceptability of different responses, pointing out that we each have options and beliefs of our own.

Depending on the maturity level, some students may wish to share the reasons for their response. Occasionally, tell the class what your personal response would be.



1. What kind of present would you like most to get?
______ a surprise present
______ a present you already know about
______ present you pick out
2. What would you consider the worst experience?
______ telling on a best friend
______ changing schools
______ getting lost in a shopping center
3. Which do you like best for dessert?
______ cake
______ pie
______ fruit salad
______ ice cream
4. Which would you rather do on a Saturday morning?
______ sleep late
______ play with a friend
______ watch T.V.
5. Which would you rather be?
______ a fireman/woman
______ policeman/woman
______ a mailman/woman
6. Which of these would you most like to see in your neighborhood?
______ a teacher
______ a circus clown
______ a dentist
7. Which would make you most uneasy?
______ a thunderstorm
______ a new babysitter
______ going to bed alone in the dark
8. Which do you like best in school?
______ reading
______ math
______ spelling
9. Which chore would you rather do?
______ wash dishes
______ dust the furniture
______ take garbage out
10. What would you do if someone hit you?
______ tell the teacher
______ hit him/her back
______walk away 
11. Which would be the worst for you?
______ go to a birthday party without a gift
______ go to a Halloween party without a costume
______go to a party with a torn dress/pants 
12. Where would you like to spend your vacation?
______ at the beach
______ in the mountains
______at your grandparents' house 
13. Which animal would you rather be?
______ a kitten
______ a kangaroo
______ a lion 
14. Which would you rather do?
______ play in the snow
______ swim in a pool
______ swim in the ocean
15. Which would you like to be?
______ tiger
______ monkey
______ snake
16. How would you rather have your parent punish you?
______ by spanking you
______ by taking away your favorite game or toy
______ by talking to you 
17.  Which would you rather explore?
______ a tree
______ a mountain
______ a river
18. What do you like to do best?
______ play games
______ read a book
______ play outside
19. Which color do you like best?
______ red
______ green
______ blue
20. With whom would you like most to play?
______ with a boy
______ with a girl
______ alone