Utah Lesson Plans
Social Studies
Material Type:
Lesson, Lesson Plan
Lower Elementary
  • Code of Conduct
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Lesson Plans
  • Social Studies
  • UEN
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:

    Choices Have Consequences

    Choices Have Consequences


    Students will learn how to handle grievances without getting angry or using violence.


    Students will learn how to handle grievances without getting angry or using violence.


    For each group:

    Additional Resources


    • Listen Buddy, by Helen Lester; ISBN 0-590-21236-2
    • Me First, by Helen Lester; ISBN 0-590-87923-5
    • Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, by Eileen Spinelli; ISBN 0-590-29995-6
    • Bootsie Barker Bites, by Barbara Bottner; ISBN 0-440-83070-2
    • Timothy Goes to School, by Rosemary Wells; ISBN 0-440-84053
    • Nosey Mrs. Rat, by Jeffrey Allen/James Marshall; ISBN 0-14-050665-9
    • Hooway for Wodney Wat, by Helen Lester; ISBN 0-590-212356-2


    Background for Teachers

    Students should realize that the choices they make in their lives affect others. They should understand that relationships need strong values, and that there are other ways to handle grievances besides being angry or using violence.

    Intended Learning Outcomes

    1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude.
    2. Develop social skills and ethical responsibility.
    3. Demonstrate responsible emotional and cognitive behaviors.

    Instructional Procedures

    Invitation to Learn
    Would you like to be in charge and make important decisions? How would you like to be rich? Would you like to have great adventures? Would you like to be powerful and a strong leader? Today we are going to do all these things in a pirate activity.

    Instructional Procedures

    1. Divide the class into groups of six to eight. (Situations may include Pirate’s ship, cowboys, pioneers, pilgrims, settlers, trappers, astronauts, space station, or an underwater city.)
    2. Give each group a container filled with gold coins, Character Cards, a deck of Water and Food Cards, a deck of Situation Cards, a deck of Plunder Cards, a deck of Code of Conduct Cards, and a deck of Curse You Cards.
    3. Each student selects a Character Card. This card tells them who they are and what their characteristic traits are. (Always include the Captain card when playing. Other character cards may be set aside depending on the number of players.)
    4. Each student is given five gold coins, three Water Cards and three Food Cards to begin the game. Gold coins may be exchanged for two Water or Food Cards.
    5. Place the Character Card in front of you.
    6. The Captain draws the first Situation Card and follows the instructions on that card.
    7. Players only pay other players when instructed on the card. All other “bounty” is put back into the container.
    8. Play continues to the Captain’s left until all cards have been turned over, or until time expires.
    9. After the game has ended, each player counts their coins and Food and Water Cards.
    10. Compare what the other players have to your own “bounty.”
    11. The teacher instructs the Captains to take all the treasure from each player.
    12. Captains then either keep it all for themselves, or divide it however they’d like.
    13. After each team is finished, the teacher opens the Treasure Map and reads:
      • If the captain kept all the treasure for himself, everyone on the ship died, including the Captain, because he can’t sail the ship by himself.
      • If the Captain shared part of the bounty, the crew didn’t have enough strength to get the treasure back to the ship. They made it half way back and then couldn’t row anymore. The rowboat was too heavy to move, so they had to tip the treasure out of the rowboat into the depths of the ocean.
      • If the treasure was divided equally, everyone wins because each person had enough strength to find the treasure and bring it back. They split it equally and then were able to buy an island and build a lovely community where they all lived happily ever after.
    14. Using the Content Venn DiagramContent Flow Chart, or Content Web, lead a class discussion highlighting the objectives of this Content Standard.
      • How living on a pirate ship is similar to living in a community and how it is different.
      • Why rules are important in a community and what would happen if there were no laws.
      • How cooperation and sharing play an important part in working with others.
      • How the Captain’s choice affected each player.
      • How to handle conflict and come to a peaceful resolution.



    • The teacher may need to assist students who require assistance in reading the cards. It may be necessary to place the students in close proximity or have parent helpers, aides, or a peer tutor help.
    • Play this game by first giving no instruction and no cards. Explain there is gold, food, and water in the middle of the table and students may do whatever they like. After the initial confusion, stop and explain why rules are important. We need guidelines in our schools, families, and communities, or all we have is chaos.
    • Make a list of qualities you want in a friend and then a list of your own qualities that are valuable in a friendship. Read Listen Buddy.
    • Create a character charm booklet. On each page write a character trait you feel is important in a family setting.
    • Show how a community has grown by designing a flow chart showing the student's grandparents, parents, and children in each family. Discuss what changes would need to be made if all of these people stayed in one community (e.g., more homes, more water needed, more stores, wider roads, larger landfill, etc.).

    Family Connections

    • As a family, discuss ways that each member can help make the family unit stronger and make a Family Code of Conduct.
    • Visit areas of the community and find older buildings and compare them with newer structures.


    Assessment Plan

    • Write a Pirate’s Code of Conduct listing rules and consequences, both positive and negative. Compare the lists from each group and compile them into one final document.
    • Write a Classroom Code of Conduct. Display these rules on a poster in the classroom and print a smaller copy to send home with students.
    • Give students situations that happen in daily life and ask them to write the correct response to solve each problem (e.g., What should you do if you find a wallet on the ground outside a store? What should you do if your parents ask you to clean your room? What should you do if someone is making fun of another person?). Type these up and display them.
    • Have students design a brochure encouraging people to come and live in or visit their real or imaginary community. They should focus on the positive strengths of their area.
    • List reasons why solving problems calmly is an effective way to work through conflicts.



    Research Basis

    Gentner, D., Markman, A.B. (1994). Structural alignment in comparison: No difference without similarity. Psychological Science, 5(3), 152-158.

    Researchers have found identifying similarities and differences to be basic to human thought. Indeed, they might be considered the "core" of all learning.

    Potts, B. (1994). Strategies for Teaching Critical Thinking. ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation (ERIC Identifier ED385606). Retrieved February 24, 2005, from

    Problem-finding is an excellent group activity, particularly if two or more groups work on the same task independently and then come together to compare strategies. In this way, each student has the benefit of exposure to several ways of solving the problem.


    Main Core Tie:

    Social Studies - 2nd Grade
    Standard 1