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Teaching Kids Decision Making: Raising Thoughtful Voters

November 1st, 2016

Teaching Decision Making to Raise Thoughtful Voters

Election day is just around the corner. Many people have already started voting by absentee ballot. The debates, surveys, projections seem to be everywhere. That being said, how do we teach someone or as a student learn to be a thoughtful voter? How is decision making a part of life?

Whether we realize it or not, we actually vote on ‘stuff’ every day. A vote for something is a decision or choice about something. For example, if you are thirsty and you get a drink of water, the act of drinking water rather than juice, coffee, tea, or a soft drink is an ‘act’ of voting or choosing water, of course it also depend of the type of water you drink, because you can also chose to drink healthier water, whether be buying bottle filtered water or getting a water filter system, which can be found at sites like pureosmosis.org and many others.

When you order a pizza and need to choose the toppings, you ‘vote’ on the toppings and those with the most votes get to be on the pizza.

Voting is all about Making Decisions

Whenever you make a decision or choice about something you actually go through a 5-step process. Bigger decisions may take a few more steps. Sometimes these steps happen quickly, sometimes it is a lengthy process.

  1. Identify the decision (choice) that needs to be made.
  2. Gather information regarding the pros and cons. Use a compare/contrast graphic organizer to make this easy.
  3. Debate the evidence.
  4. Weigh the evidence. Use past experiences, data, other input.
  5. Choose. Vote your choice among the alternatives.
Teaching Kids Decision Making

Friday Movie Night Example

Nominate two movie choices. Then have a debate about the choices and finally vote on it. As you prepare for your debate, use the graphic organizing forms from Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills.

Go through the 5 Steps to Making a Decision

For example:

  1. Choose between Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Finding Nemo
  2. Gather the pros and cons for each as well as any similarities.
  3. Debate the evidence.
  4. Weigh in the evidence. Have you seen them before? What are the reviews? Pros and cons of animated vs actors?
  5. Vote. Choose based on your evidence.

Making Decisions at Home

Think of all the different things you can vote on as a family… For example, vote for:

  1. What you want to have for Friday night dinner.
  2. Which movie you want to rent for a family movie night.
  3. Where you want to go on a vacation.
  4. Who you want to invite to come for the holidays.
  5. What you want to do over Thanksgiving Break.

Then, actually go through the process of nominating two dinner choices or two movie choices, or two vacation places, etc. Then have a debate about the choices and finally vote on it.

As you prepare for your debate, use the graphic organizing forms from Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills. Use the compare/contrast form (page 28) or the cause and effect from (page 25). Using these forms are not only easy, but they also help you to clarify what you want to say in the debate.

This makes for a great learning experience as well as time to have fun with the family.

Blog Topics

Teaching Kids Decision Making