Pick a Solution
  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      3. Benchmark MS.4 Demonstrate the skills needed for the successful performance of the volunteer job.

In this lesson, students form groups that have similar interests/issues.Together they evaluate possible solutions based on their research to determine the pros and cons of each solution. Working collaboratively and using a decision-making matrix, they pick one solution as a group to create, run, rework, and present in Lesson Five. 

PrintOne 50-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • collaborate with others to form groups of like interests and issues.
  • complete a decision-making matrix to determine best idea for the group presentation.

student copies of handout one: Decision Matrixcopy of Group Contract (handout two) for each group

  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Before you tell students their group assignments, conduct a "fishbowl" (model) on what a good group dynamic looks like. The facilitator may want to use a learner who has been prepped ahead of time or has already shown the ability to effectively work in a group. Keys to a good fishbowl include the following:

    1. Give the audience a specific person to look at and report out on.
    2. Once the facilitator starts the fishbowl, he/she should be immersed as a learner (don't just describe a good group but model a good group).
    3. After the fishbowl, debrief each person's role in the group. What should learners see, hear, experience in a good working group?
    4. Emphasize good collaboration, listening, appreciating others' ideas, and other positive traits you want to see in a group.
    5. The content of the fishbowl could be the model group filling out a Group Contract.
  2. Place the learners in their groups as previously decided by the teacher (see the Teacher Preparation section). Have each group complete a group contract (handout two).

  3. Use the fishbowl process again to teach students how to complete a Decision Matrix (handout one). Again using learners who have been coached, the teacher should assume the role of a learner. The Decision Matrix looks at the ideas of four group members and assesses the best project idea based on four main components of the rubric.

  4. Each student group completes the Decision Matrix to determine the best project for their group.

  5. Collect group contracts and the Decision Matrix from each group (Teachers should collect both the Group Contracts and Decision Matrix of each group and record group names and topics. Both handouts will need to be returned to groups, so they can use the handouts to help run their groups.)

  6. By the end of Lesson Four, groups must be formed, contracts filled out, and one presentation topic chosen per group. This will allow groups to move on to Lesson Five.


Groups should turn in a group contract and decision matrix. Facilitators can assign grades as appropriate but should take time now to look for possible group conflicts and look to make sure the final idea of the group is feasible or if it needs to be tweaked in order to achieve success.


Have students write reflections on how their group followed the model for constructive group collaboration and how they feel about their group's collaborative decision. They may also write ideas about how they can personally add to the effectiveness of the group in future meetings.