Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Smart Decision!

Elizabeth Russell


The students, by using a “Decision Making Model”, will recognize, analyze and solve an environmental problem of public concern.


The student knows that scientists can bring information, insights, and analytical skills to matters of public concern and help people understand the possible causes and effects of events.


-“Decision Making Model” papers for each student
-“Decision Making Chart” for each group
-A list of values and what each one means to us(i.e. aesthetics = how nice something looks; what is beautiful or pleasing)


1. Make a copy of the “Decision Making Model” for each student.
2. Make a copy of the Decision Making Chart for each group.
3. Create a list of values and write them on the board for class to see.


Note: This lesson can be modified to use with any subject.

1. Assign the students into groups of three or four.

2. Write on the board a list of values (see associated files) and review with the students what each means.

3. Distribute copies of the “Decision Making Model” to each student.

4. Distribute a copy of the Decision Making Chart to each group.

5. Read over the instructions with your students.

6. Tell the students to read the scenario quietly and to underline important information as they read.

7. Tell the students to choose four values from your list to evaluate in their decision making chart (see associated files) and write the values across the top in the 2nd , 3rd , 4th and 5th columns.

8. Tell the students to fill in the chart with their group’s interpretation of the information.

9. Explain to the students that once their chart is filled in they should use the positive and negative effects they have found to make a final decision as to whether or not the landfill should be allowed.

10. Emphasize to the students that in order to make the best decision on an issue they should evaluate the data, decide if the idea is good—it has many positive attributes, or if it is not a good idea—it has many negative areas. Tell them that by learning and applying this process they can learn to solve everyday problems they encounter.

11. Have each group give a presentation of their chart and explain if they are for or against the proposed project and to explain why.

12. During the presentations, you should keep track of the group’s pro’s and con’s for each value and question them on each if they do not identify why it is a pro or a con.


Students use a “Decision Making Chart” (see associated file) to generate an understanding of the causes and effects of an environmental problem.
Students reason and develop their own opinions to solve through a problem to generate an answer.
You may choose to use their completed “Decision Making Chart” as your assessment by looking for proper information in each area on the chart.
You may choose to assess the groups by having them explain their reasons for their final decisions on the issue presented to them. Their decisions should be based on the pros and cons they found while reviewing the issue presented.


Students could research another local problem and create a decision making model to come to a conclusion. Their model could be used to create a research paper or to write a letter to the editor of their local newspaper.

Attached Files

Decision Making Chart     File Extension: pdf

Decision Making Model     File Extension: pdf

List of Values     File Extension: pdf

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