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Lesson Plans Library 6-12 > Health
Reality Matters
Risky Business
Grade level: 6-12 Subject: Health Duration: Two to three class periods

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Students will
  • review the possible consequences of making risky choices,
  • become familiar with statistics involving teens, and
  • create and play a board game designed to show how bad choices can lead to setbacks.
  • Computer with Internet access
  • Poster board, markers, paper, index cards, and bottle caps or other game tokens
  1. After watching the video, ask students: What are some choices they will be faced with that could affect the rest of their lives? (Whether to drive safely; finish high school; to lie, cheat, or steal; and to treat others with consideration)
  2. Review some of the statistics presented in the program and listed below. Then ask the class what the statistics mean to them. Do they know of teens who have been in car accidents or dropped out of school? What has happened to them? How might cheating or plagiarizing a paper affect a student's future? Why do students think teens are more likely to make risky choices than adults? Do they think teens consider consequences when they make a bad choice?
    • Teen drivers are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as other drivers.
    • Every year 6,000 teens die and 600,000 are hurt in car crashes.
    • Those who don't finish high school are more susceptible to health, economic, and social problems than those who do.
    • High school dropouts are twice as likely to have incomes below the poverty level than those who finish school.
    • It is more likely that a violent crime will be committed by a teen than an adult in the United States.
    • The percentage of students who admit to cheating in school is 97 percent.
  3. To help students realize the effects decisions can have, they will develop a board game called Choices and Consequences. Divide the class into groups of four. The group will come up with 24 different choices and outcomes-12 good and 12 bad. The choices will be real-life ones; the outcomes will either move the player forward in the game (for a good choice) or set him or her back (for a bad choice). Some examples of choices and outcomes are listed here. Students can decide the number of spaces a player will be moved forward or back according to how big a boon or setback a choice might be. To keep the game moving though, they should probably limit setbacks to no more than three spaces, and not include too many such choices.
    • You cheat on a math quiz. Move back one space.
    • You help a younger student practice reading. Move ahead a space.
    • You drive too fast and run a red light. Move back two spaces.
    • You refuse to shoplift a CD even though your friend urges you to do it. Move ahead two spaces.
    • You drink at a party and are involved in a car accident. Move back three spaces.
    • You stay in school and earn a graduate degree. Move ahead three spaces.
  4. The game board the students create should have a starting space at least 40 steps or moves to reach the end goal-in this case, a bright future! Game boards might be designed to look like a ladder in which players advance up rungs, a path with stepping stones, or a staircase in which players move up and down steps. They should draw their game board on poster board and write each of the 24 choices and outcomes on an index card. Use simple objects such as bottle caps as tokens for each player.
  5. To play, shuffle the index cards and place them face down on the game board. Students take turns drawing cards and moving their tokens along the board. They must draw a good outcome card to make the first move. If they get moved back to the start, they'll need to get another good outcome card to start again. Continue drawing cards and making moves. Reshuffle cards once they've all been used and continue until one player reaches the end-and a bright future.
  6. Should students need some fodder to come up with their choices and outcomes, these resources will come in handy:
  • Some of the topics covered in this program are suited for older students, since only high school students can drive or drop out of school. To make the game activity more appropriate for them, eliminate the game board and simply add and subtract points (the same as moving forward or back a certain number of spaces) based on the outcomes of the choices they draw from the shuffled stack of cards.
  • Making good choices builds good character. You'll find character-building activities, handouts, links, and information for students of all ages at the Web site of Character Counts: athttp://www.goodcharacter.comis another site with many resources to plan extension activities to strengthen character.
  • Education equals earning power. Let students make the connection by researching average incomes and education levels. A useful publication that downloads in PDF format is at the U.S. Census Bureau page Students can read the publication, examine the numerous charts and graphs, and draw their own conclusions about the correlation between education and income.

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Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • Three points:Students were highly engaged in class discussions and devised outstanding choices and outcomes for their board game.
  • Two points:Students participated in class discussions and devised adequate choices and outcomes for their board game.
  • One point:Students participated minimally in class discussions and failed to develop enough choices and outcomes to complete their board game.

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Definition:An assessment of a person's values, traits, and abilities
Context:Sean was a boy of good character; he unselfishly helped others.

Definition:The result of a decision or course of action
Context:When Tiffany decided to drop out of school, she didn't consider the consequences of not being able to earn a good living.

Definition:Humiliating or punishing someone, often as a rite of initiation
Context:Freshmen at Josh's school were often victims of hazing in which upper classmen stole their books or made them sing or dance in public.

Definition:Using someone else's written work without attributing it
Context:Turning in a composition downloaded from the Internet is plagiarism. It can get a student a failing grade or suspension from school.

Definition:The image-either good or bad-that others have of someone
Context:Sean had always had a reputation as a good student until he was caught cheating on a test.

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The National Science Education Standards provide guidelines for teaching science as well as a coherent vision of what it means to be scientifically literate for students in grades K-12. To view the standards, visit
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Science as Inquiry: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry; Understandings about scientific inquiry
  • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives: Personal health; Risks and benefits

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Rhonda Lucas Donald, curriculum writer, editor, and consultant

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