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Name of Activity:

Decision-making Scenarios

Purpose of Activity:

Students will use the five-step (ABCDE) model of the decision-making process to determine the solutions and consequences of four example scenarios. Follow the ABCDE model: Assess the problem, Brainstorm alternative solutions, Consider the consequences of each, Decide and act, Evaluate the consequences.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Transparency of the ABCDE decision-making model, transparency projector, scenario handouts, paper, pencils

Description of Idea


1. Cindy is 18 years old. Cindy's parents and her 23-year old brother Rich are going away for the weekend. Renee, Cindy's best friend, is pressuring her to throw a huge Saturday night party for all their friends since no one will be home. Renee even asked Rich if he could pick up a few kegs for them. Rich brought back two kegs of beer, a case of Zima, a bottle of Vodka, and a few bottles of wine, which he hid in the basement. Renee also spread the word around school for everyone to show up. Cindy now has over $100 worth of alcohol hid in the basement, an empty house for the weekend, and fifteen friends expected to show. What should she do?

2. Cindy, 18, is hosting the biggest high school party of the year. Her parents have gone away for the weekend. Her brother bought more than enough alcohol, and her friend Renee invited all of their friends. Everything is going well at first, but eventually Cindy becomes aware of a few problems: What should Cindy do?
- her friends invited friends, and there are now close to 100 people at the house
- some of her guests are getting sick in inconvenient places
- some of her guests are getting too friendly in inconvenient places
- the neighbors have threatened to call the police if the noise continues
- her parents changed plans, and are now coming home at 7:00 a.m. the next day

3. Bill and Tom, both 18, are driving around on a Saturday night looking for something to do. Tom stops at his house to make some phone calls and pick up some beer for the road. He hands the 6-pack to Bill, who immediately cracks one open and tosses the rest in the backseat. Tom, distracted by Bill, drives through a stop sign. The next thing the boys notice is the siren from an approaching police car? What should they do?

4. Julie, 21, and her friends go out to a frat party. Julie is spending most of her time dancing and socializing with a few guys, some of whom she knows. The guys are taking turns getting her drinks when she starts to feel a little woozy. She notices that she needs to refocus her eyes every time she blinks. She also can't seem to hear everything that's being said. Looking around, she can't locate any of her friends. What should she do?

Protective Factors:(positive decision-making)

- being reared in a loving, functional family
- being involved in school activities
- having positive self-esteem
- having clearly defined goals and plans to reach them
- having close friends- regularly practicing one's faith
- feeling a sense of accomplishment at school
- having a role model
- having a healthful attitude about competition and athletics
- being committed to following community rules
- having a plan to cope with life's stressors

Risk Factors (negative decision-making)

- dysfunctional family
- low self-esteem
- being unable to resist peer pressure or influence
- lacking faith experiences
- genetically predisposed to chemical dependency
- experiencing family disruptions
- experiencing depression
- experiencing academic and/or athletic pressure

The students will be introduced to the ABCDE five-step model of decision making through the use of an overhead transparency. All of the steps will be discussed with examples. Following the decision-making process, the teacher will discuss the protective factors that lead to positive decision-making, and the risk factors that lead to negative decision-making. The teacher will ask for examples of each from the class, and discuss each step as necessary.

The teacher will then split the students into four groups and distribute one scenario to each. The students are to use the ABCDE decision-making model to find solutions and consequences for their scenario. Each group will be given pencils and paper to write down their brainstorming sessions, and each possible solution. After ten to fifteen minutes of group work, the students will present their scenario and solution to the class.

The group presenting will conclude by fielding questions from the class and teacher. The class will conclude with a review of the ABCDE model and the protective and risk factors that can influence decision-making.

Assessment Ideas:

The teacher can establish a scoring rubric for the group presentations, while also collecting the papers each group used to outline possible scenarios. The teacher should also assess the quality of answers given to questions from the class following the presentation.

Submitted by Jay  Vasil who teaches at Lewisburg Area High School in Lewisburg , PA . Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 6/14/2000.
Viewed 250557 times since 8/24/2001.

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Decision-making Scenarios

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Previous Comments:

kayla jn baptiste

nice scenarios,i love it


nothing good ever happens at a frat party


Just the kind of information I needed for my class of eighth grade students.



Thank you, it is a good resources that will be used for teaching Personal Development

Maureen Gill

i dont see the problems with any of these


this is a very good scenario and i really enjoy reading it and it also give me ideas on making parties thank you


These problems were addressed by a neuroimaging study led by Joydeep Bhattacharya at Goldsmiths, University of London, where human volunteers were asked to make a preference decision between two faces which are closely matched.


great site
very helpful

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