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Infrastructure Lesson 10

Lesson 10: Youth Decision Making


American youth will confront many tough decisions in their lives, both personal and political. This lesson provides a framework for approaching decision making that emphasizes the value of identifying pros and cons of different options and the difficulty of balancing short term and long term tradeoffs. The lesson begins by asking students to think critically about three decision choices that young people face. It then moves from the personal issues to issues related to infrastructure at the school and community level. Following the introductory activity on decision-making, there are two directions the class may take. Some teachers may want to have students carefully examine different approaches to providing better drinking water at their school. This group activity asks students to carefully examine the pros and cons of four different alternatives and to decide which is the best one. 


Students should be able to do the following at the end of the lesson:

  1. Describe why decision-making is difficult both at the personal level and at the society level.
  2. Identify plusses and minuses before making decisions on important questions.
  3. Apply decision-making skills to an infrastructure challenge.
  4. Describe why infrastructure is important to life in America.


  1. Decision-making warm-up.
  2. Small group project: Providing better drinking water in our local schools.    
  3. Small group consulting project: Building student support for infrastructure.


  1. Full Lesson Plan - Includes Lesson Overview, Teacher Instructions, and Student Handouts.
  2. Teacher Instructions
  3. Student Handouts
The design, development, validation and publication of these infrastructure teaching modules was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Grant #1334292, and the Global Projects Center at Stanford University. All opinions and conclusions expressed in this paper reflect the views of the author/s, and not necessarily the views of these sponsors.