Decision Making Influences in Literature

Instructional Procedures

Day 1: (Health classroom)

Prize Drawing
Distribute the small sqaures of paper, one to each student. Display the various beverages, showing each container to the class. Inform students that there will be a prize drawing where one student will win the beverage of their choice. Instruct students to write the name of one beverage on the small paper, fold it one time, and place it in the prize drawing container. Before selecting the winner, ask students why they selected the beverage they did as well as why they passed over others. Record responses on board/butcher paper. Reasons may include: "I like the taste"; "It has caffeine in it"; "It doesn't have carbination"; "It's an ugly label"; etc. Draw the name of the winner and tell them they can pick up their prize at the end of the day (this allows you to continue to display all beverages for the remaining classes).

Influences on Decision Making
Tell students that their beverage choice has been influenced by one or more factors. Show the word strips or write the influences listed in the "Background for Teachers" section on the board. Refer back to the reasons students gave for selecting or passing over certain beverages and have students match the reasons to the corresponding influence(s).
1. "It has caffeine in it," may be influenced by habit (an addiction), or by faith ("It's against my religion.")
2. "It doesn't have carbination" may be influenced by values ("What my coach says is important,") or by peers ("It's what my friends on the swim team drink.")
3. "It tastes good", may be influenced by media (commercial) or family ("It's what we drink at home and I'm used to it.")

Optional note taking: Pass out a plain sheet of paper to each student. Instruct students to fold the paper into eight equal sections (a vertical fold followed by two horizontal folds). Use an overhead transparency to communicate the eight influences and their definitions as outlined in "Background for Teachers". Invite students to demonstrate their comprehension of the terms by listing examples of, and/or creating illustrations for, each influence in thier notes.

Text to Life Examples
Distribute a copy of the handout, "Influences", to each student. Instruct them to work in pairs or small groups to identify and list the two or three most likely influences on each of the six decisions. When finished, students are to think up their own decision making mini-story and list the influences. Invite each group to share their mini-story with the class to see if other students can correctly identify the influences.

Day 2 and Beyond: (Language Arts classroom)

As a class, read a novel or short story in which the characters make numerous decisions (this would include most novels/stories already used in Language Arts classrooms). Ask students to use the "Decision Making in Literature" reading log to keep track of the decisions made by the characters and to identify one or more influences for each decision. Instruct students to distinguish whether the influence comes from within the person (internal), or if the influence comes from outside sources (external).