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Decision Making Skills

Teacher Guide by Patrick Healey

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Student Activities for Decision-Making Skills Include:

We are all a result of our decisions. Decision making is an important life skill for students to develop and practice in a safe environment. Making tough decisions can be an anxiety-provoking exercise. These following activities will help develop positive decision makers.

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




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Teacher Background on Decision-Making

Making decisions can be difficult. Life faces you with tough decisions every day. We tend to think there are only a few tough decisions in life, should I take this job or that job? Should I buy a house or rent? Yes, these are big decisions, but what makes decisions difficult are the choices. When each choice is equal, it makes the decision difficult. There are ways to make decision less difficult by weighing out options, looking at long term outcomes, and reflecting on choices made. Practicing these techniques in the classroom is a great way to ease them in life.

Making decisions may come easier to adults than adolescents. The reason for this is, as adults we have an understanding of our goals, values, and standards. We base our decision making on the value of the reward and the confidences we can accomplish it. Students may not have a self concept or an idea of where they want to be going. This upcoming generation has so many options in life upon graduation they might not be able to choose just one. Adults experience this a lot when going to the grocery store and buying more on their list. There are too many choices and weighing them all out creates an overload. Through these activities students will develop their ability to think about their consequences, reduce stress during decision making, and how to make decisions in a idea model.

Essential Questions for Decision Making

  1. What are the different types of decisions?
  2. What is a decision making model?
  3. What makes decision difficult?

Decision-Making Skills Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Decisions Decisions Decisions


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Your students make decisions everyday (hopefully they all made the decision to come to class today). This may have been a “no decision” for them; a few different people are making sure they are in school everyday. There are two other types of decisions: snap decisions and reasonable decisions. Whether or not they raise their hand in class is a “snap decision”. They must decide quickly before someone else raises their hand. This decision is usually made without contemplation of consequences or outcomes. Doing their homework after school or during lunch is a “reasonable decision”. This is because they weigh their options and choose the best possible outcome. Should I do my homework at school while I eat so I can watch a movie later, or do it at night after dinner at home?

Asking the students to create a storyboard showing the three different types of decisions will help them remember content. If you ask them to depict decisions they either made today or in the last few days will reinforce another learning goal. The fact that they make decisions every day may ease the pressure and give them confidence in making those more consequential decisions, such as applying for colleges or refusing to fall into peer pressure.

Have students create a three cell storyboard with a title and description. Each title should indicate which type of decision, the cell should depict a decision they made, with the description describing how it classifies as the decision type.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard showing real-life examples of the three types of decisions.


  1. Identify the type of decision in the title boxes.
  2. Create a picture of a recent decision you have made in the cell using a combination of appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  3. Describe the meaning of the term and how it is applied in the cell.
  4. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.


(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Decision Making Model


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In order to get students to think about consequences first when faced with a decision, they are going to have to practice. The reward system is developed in their brain, but not the consequences aspect among teenagers. Instant gratification rules their perspective. This decision making chart will help them put things into perspective.


Step One: List the choices

Step Two: Weigh out the consequences

Step Three: Look for resources, if possible

Step Four: Choose a solution

Step Five: Reflect on the decision


Have student brainstorm some of their own decisions they made recently or ones they will face soon. Have the students fill in the template and break down their own decisions and how they made the choice. A follow-up activity would be to have a think-pair-share exercise. Allowing students to reflect on their peers' decision-making will help to build a "consequence first" thinking environment.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard showing a decision making model of a real or imagined decision.


  1. Type a possible decision in the center title box.
  2. List the first step of the decision making model in the top title box and the following steps in the rest of the title boxes.
  3. Create a visual example of each step using a combination of appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  4. Briefly describe what is taking place in each cell in the description boxes.
  5. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.


(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Positive Decisions


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Students typically do not get positive praise for every good decision they make. When they take a step back and reflect on their good decisions, it will reinforce them to continue their behaviors. Also, having the student share with the class will allow others to look at what the peers are doing each day, the goal being to support a positive decision making environment.

Ask students to make a five cell storyboard all about positive decisions. The first two cells should depict things they have done the day before. The middle cell should show what they will do or have done today. Finally, the last two cells should show what they should decide tomorrow. This will help them paint a positive picture of themselves and mimic goal setting for the future.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard showing a some of the positive decisions you made yesterday, made already today, and what you’ll decide to tomorrow!


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. List in the first two title boxes what you have decided to do positively yesterday starting with “yesterday I…”.
  3. List in the third title box what you will decide or have decided to do positively today starting with “today I…”.
  4. List in the last two title boxes what you will decide to do positively tomorrow starting with “tomorrow I…”.
  5. Create a visual example of each positive decision using a combination of appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  6. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.


(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Consequence First


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This activity will have students think about the consequences of their decisions by putting them in scenarios. These scenarios are ones they hopefully won’t face, but will now be prepared for. The template example will have three different types of pressures that cause them to make a quick decision. They need to depict a visual of the outcome of the negative decision, then how the main character can make a better decision.

The three initial scenarios can be modified or adapted to fit the educational goals in your classroom. The ones provided are different peer pressures. Asking your students to develop their own scenarios may help personalize the learning objective.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Continue the storyboard to show negative consequences and positive decision making.


  1. Open the storyboard provided by your teacher.
  2. Analyze the peer pressure decisions and depict what the negative consequences might be if the main character were to make the wrong decision.
  3. Create what it would look and sound like making a better choice in the positive decision cells.
  4. In each description box, provide a brief explanation of what is taking place in each cell.
  5. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.


(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Life Decisions


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Tough decisions are only difficult based on hard choices. We tend to get high anxiety when it comes to major life decisions. The truth is, whenever there is no clear winning option for any decision, it’s classified as a hard decision. An example would be trying to decide which one dollar scratch off to buy. Each option has similar risks with no guarantee for results.

When it comes to big life decisions, you can usually find your answer while looking at the short-term and long-term outcomes of each option. Eventually students will be facing the difficult decision of what to do after high school. There is pressure from their parents, the school, society, and themselves to choose wisely. In reality, they have a lot of time to really figure out what they want to do and they can change their mind at anytime. Their answers may get a lot clearer if they look at the short-term and long-term outcomes.

Creating a decision through a storyboard can help visualize what the future may look like. Have them create a usually stressful decision. They will be looking at the short-term and long-term outcomes and then reflecting. After weighing them out, the decision should be easier to make.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Students will make the difficult decisions easier when weighing the outcomes.


  1. Create a visual of a tough decision that high schoolers usually face in the first cell.
  2. Make a visual of what the short-term outcomes are to each option.
  3. Make a visual of what the long-term outcomes are to each option.
  4. Answer both questions in the reflection description box.
  5. Each other description box should be a brief explanation of the cell.
  6. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.


(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Additional Decision Making Lesson Plan Ideas

  1. Goal setting - Have students make a storyboard that depicts three positive goals. Description boxes should explain the decisions needed to be made to get there.
  2. Bad Decision - Have students make a five cell storyboard following someone’s bad decision followed with a reflection.
  3. Good lessons from bad decisions - Have students make a storyboard showing a bad decision with a description explaining the lesson learned.

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•   (English) Decision Making Skills   •   (Español) Habilidades Para la Toma de Decisiones   •   (Français) Compétences de Prise de Décision   •   (Deutsch) Entscheidung, Fähigkeiten zu Machen   •   (Italiana) Competenze Decisionali   •   (Nederlands) Besluitvormende Vaardigheden   •   (Português) Habilidades Para Fazer Decisões   •   (עברית) כישורי קבלת החלטות   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) مهارات إتخاذ القرار   •   (हिन्दी) निर्णय लेने का कौशल   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Навыки Принятия Решений   •   (Dansk) Beslutningstagning Færdigheder   •   (Svenska) Beslutsfattande Färdigheter   •   (Suomi) Päätöksenteon Taitoja   •   (Norsk) Beslutningsprosesser   •   (Türkçe) Karar Verme Becerileri   •   (Polski) Umiejętności Podejmowania Decyzji   •   (Româna) Aptitudini de Luare a Deciziilor   •   (Ceština) Rozhodovací Dovednosti   •   (Slovenský) Rozhodovacie Zručnosti   •   (Magyar) Döntéshozatali Készségek   •   (Hrvatski) Vještine Odlučivanja   •   (български) Умения за Вземане на Решения   •   (Lietuvos) Sprendimų Priėmimo Įgūdžiai   •   (Slovenščina) Odločanje o Spretnostih   •   (Latvijas) Lēmumu Pieņemšanas Prasmes   •   (eesti) Otsuste Tegemise Oskused