Target Grades: Grades 6 - 12
make decisions in humanities-related career scenarios. In the process,
learn about the factors that influence decision making in history. They
are exposed to career possibilities in history and social studies. This
can be used as stand-alone enrichment or as part of a history
To introduce decision making as a theme in
history and social studies.
be able to:
- Identify four influences on historical decision making.
- Make choices in real-life decision-making scenarios.
- Relate factors in historical decision making to influences
Suggested Products for Evaluation
- Homework assignment: Tough Decisions
- Access to Choices Explorer
- Print copies of Choices Explorer's decision-making
the following career descriptions:
A recent newspaper.
- Foreign Correspondent
- Currency Trader
- Bring in a recent newspaper. Point out that all of the
products of decisions made by individuals or groups of individuals. Ask
students to determine who, or more specifically, what role made the
decisions to cause this event in history.
- Inform students that today's lesson focuses on the impact
of decision making on history. Huge events that shape people's lives
are simply a series of decisions made (or not made) by people in
various roles. Hand out to each student a copy of the Politician
decision-making scenario from Choices Explorer.
- Have students read the scenario. Once they have decided
what they would do individually, place students into groups of three
and have them discuss the best course of action for the politician.
Would they respond to the gun control wishes of the letter-writing
constituents or take a poll of the community?
- Once students
have discussed the choices in small groups, ask the whole class if
decisions on gun control can effect the history of a country. Point
out that decisions made by many individuals on many topics have shaped
the laws that govern the way we live.
- Decision making throughout history has shaped who we are
and how we perceive the world. Explain that history's
decisions have been influenced by four key factors. They are:
- Public Opinion -- what the
- Economics -- the financial circumstance surrounding a
- Emotions -- the emotional state of
the decision-maker in each situation.
- Individual Perspective -- the opinion of the
- Point out that the Politician's choice in the scenario
demonstrates an example of the first factor that influences historical
decisions: public opinion. Tell the class that the other three types of
influences (economic, emotions and individual perspective) will be
featured in the next three scenarios.
- Hand out a copy of the Currency Trader, Foreign
Correspondent and Historian decision-making scenarios from Choices
Explorer to each group. Have each group read the story and then discuss
the best decision, in the group's opinion.
- Review with the whole class the choices they would make.
Then tell them what the person really did in the story. Briefly discuss
the economic influences on the Currency Trader's choice, the emotional
influences on the Foreign Correspondent's choice and the individual
perspective influences on the Historian's choice. Ask the class to
identify ways our history and our perspective of history has been
influenced by decision making.
- Point out to the class the importance of decision-making
skills in their own lives. Obviously, the choices each of us make are
tough -- we must try to deal with the influences of public opinion,
economics (money), emotions and individual perspective. These are most
certainly influences that shape the decisions we make about our own
- End the class by asking students to make an individual
decision. If the entire world was made up of the four careers we saw
glimpses of today -- a Politician, a Currency Trader, a Foreign
Correspondent and a Historian (all social studies-related careers) --
which would each person choose? What would be their decision? Have
students of similar decisions stand together in the class. Hear the
reasons why each chose as they did. Look to point out the factors that
influenced their decisions, which again are: public opinion, economics,
emotions and individual perspective.
- Ask the class the identify circumstances where influences
in decision making come into conflict (e.g. individual perspective and
public opinion are different). After a few examples, point out that
decisions are more difficult when influences are in conflict.
- Assign a two-paragraph homework assignment "Tough
Decisions". In the first paragraph, ask each individual to identify a
historic decision-making situation that has been studied this year and
evaluate it. In that paragraph, ask them to summarize what they believe
were the primary influences on that decision: public opinion,
economics, emotions or individual perspective. In a second paragraph,
ask them to do the same analysis of a local community decision or a