Ordering a Pizza
  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Identify and discuss civil society sector organizations working to protect individual rights, equity, and justice.

Practice making a decision using principles of majority rule and minority rights.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session
  • Explain how the majority uses power to make decisions.
  • Describe ways the minority can make its voice heard.

Elbow, Peter. Writing With Power. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981. ISBN: 0-19-5029135.

  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Reflect in writing about a time when you had to go along with a group decision that was not what you wanted to do. Write about the situation, the group, the decision, how the decision was made and how you felt. This can be kept private.

    Discuss how it feels to be in the minority and have your perspective ignored. 

  2. Tell the group that they will have an opportunity to practice making a decision using the principles of majority rule and minority rights. They will be deciding what kind of pizza to order for tomorrow (teacher's treat).

  3. Create teams with unequal numbers in each group. Each group should choose a representative by a simple majority vote. The representative will take their group decision to the larger group.

    Their task is to make a group decision on the two toppings to have on the pizza, what kind of pizza (round or deep dish), and from where the pizza will be ordered. (Only one pizza will be ordered for the whole group.) Take time to listen to everyone and argue points of view. Discuss whether any decisions matter more than others. Take a vote and make sure the representative knows what the group decided and why.

  4. The representative from each group takes their group decisions with them and meets with the other representatives in a small circle in the middle of the room. The others sit in their groups around the center group.

    The representatives discuss the pizza choices, representing their groups' decisions to the whole group. They discuss, listen, and compromise, as needed to come to consensus.

  5. Debrief: Once the decision is made, give each group an opportunity to publicly give feed-back to their representative as to how satisfied they are with their conduct.

    For example, were their interests represented? Were compromises made? If compromises were made, what was the representative's rationale? Did the representative seek feedback from the group as issues evolved or use individual judgment? Was that okay? Did we see any examples of the representative acting differently from the wishes of the majority? How could that be? Did we hear the representative consider the interests of the minority (vegans, vegetarians, carnivores, etc.)?

  6. As a whole group, consider the needs of the minority - those who did not get what they wanted. Why did it happen and what can they do about it? What is the difference between not getting your way and not being represented?

    Discuss how this relates to the role of nonprofit organizations working to protect minority rights, equity, and justice.