Children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don't, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

Making Decisions

To learn how to make decisions through a process of scientific reasoning.

Children in grades 4-6 can learn to make decisions other than by default, by whim or chance, on the basis of emotions, or because of influence from others. They can learn to make sound, healthy decisions by using a modification of the scientific method. By teaching children to approach decisions logically-by assessing information and considering cause and effect-educators can help children realize that there may be more than one answer to a problem and that making decisions requires careful thought. This lesson helps children develop tools that they can use in a variety of situations requiring decisions. When this approach is practiced and becomes familiar, it can provide a way for children to decide not to use drugs and or make other harmful choices in life.

Explain to the class that you are going to teach about a scientific way to make decisions. The steps are:

1. State what the decision is about.
2. State possible alternative choices.
3. Gather information about all alternatives.
4. Decide from among the alternatives.

Explain that this approach to decision making requires students to consider each alternative carefully, to gather information, to look at the consequences of each alternative, and to weigh which is the best option.

Divide the class into small groups and give each one a vignette. Have them discuss the problem posed and determine possible solutions. Have them follow the guide questions to determine as a group what they should do. Present each group's decision to the class.

Decision-making vignettes.

Teacher Tips
• Introduce or conclude this lesson by'conclucting a science experiment using the scientific method.

• Supervise the groups to make sure that they complete the class exercise.

Learning to Live Drug-Free, A Curriculum Model for Prevention, U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program

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