|General Unit Opener Information:
Unit Opener General Resources Page
I save all of the newspapers over the summer and I bring them in. I put the students in small groups and ask them to cut out stories about people taking risks. We talk about the consequences.
I shared several video clips with my students at the "Risks and Consequences Theater" The first was a clip from Christmas Story when the character Flic is "double dog dared" to put his tongue on the flag pole. Then I showed a clip from an old movie my husband had taped called Cimmaron. The clip was of the Oklahoma Land Rush. It showed the risks settlers took to get that free land. Then I showed a bit of the first moon walk with the mission control workers cheering. Finally I showed bits from an episode of Fear Factor. Then we discussed the risks and consequences of each situation. Students talked to each other about which of the risks shown they would be willing to take. We talked about the consequences for both the individuals and the country as well. The kids really liked it.
I am planning on reading Wringer by Jerry Spinelli as a way to open this unit and have a continual discussion of risk and consequences.
I cut out pictures from magazines of people in situations (i.e. football player running with ball, baby crawling, soldier walking alone in a war zone, person smoking, etc.)and post them on Question board. I write these questions: What risks are these people taking? What will the consequences be? Students post their answers under pictures they chose to comment on.
I give each student a chocolate kiss. I make it clear that this is theirs to keep, free and clear. Then, one by one, I ask them if they want to keep their candy, or risk it to try for a whole chocolate bar. The cost for a chance to play is their chocolate kiss. If they want to play, I choose some game of chance, for instance, which hand is the marble in, or guess a number between 1 and 10. If they are correct, they get the chocolate bar. If they aren't, they've lost their kiss. After awhile, the kids get a somewhat better idea of whether or not it's "worth it" to risk a sure thing for a better, but uncertain, goal.
The students are challenged to take risks such as: placing their hand into a bowl of macaroni and cheese, singing solo in front of the class, eating green eggs and ham, or touching a tarantula. They then discuss the risks and consequences of each action.
Risks and Rewards Public Service Announcements
I searched online for pictures of people taking risks (raising their hand in class, playing soccer, skydiving, fighting fires, lawyer, driving a car, singing in front of people). I then had the students, in groups of three, create Multi-Flow maps listing all of the reasons why someone would take that risk (on the left) and all of the postive and negative consequences for taking that risk (on the right).