How to use Three Choices…and Then What Happens…?

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Suitable for online or in-person instruction

ages 8-11

The game consists of:

Fifty three scenarios in three categories: School, Friends, and Family. All of the scenarios are those that 8- to 11-year-olds in the United States, Norway, Great Britain and Romania have told us are important to them. We found consistency among the topics regardless of geography and believe that wherever you live, the Tweenz in your life will find these topics relevant.


  1. Provide an opportunity for Tweenz to have brief but meaningful conversations with their peers and in the presence of an adult (i.e., a teacher, school counselor, parent, or therapist) about challenges they experience but that don’t lend themselves to easy answers.
  2. Help Tweenz imagine different social outcomes based on their actions and the possible responses of others (what comes next).

Tweenz need to exercise their judgment, imagination, and creative/critical thinking skills, understanding that there is always more than one option when faced with a challenging situation. “Three Choices…” is asking Tweenz to imagine three possible and productive options for a given scenario and to sense what will happen next if they chose each of the options. Adults guide the conversation by helping Tweenz imagine the positive possibilities as well as the downsides or trade-off that might occur and how others might be affected. This helps children experience deliberation and imagine how social words get made one conversation at a time.

Playing the game

It can be played in many different ways, and we encourage you to use your imagination. Here are but two examples:

  1. After choosing a scenario, the children work in small groups to decide three productive choices and what is likely to happen next for each of the choices. Each group identifies what they like, what they don’t like and what they are giving up (the trade-offs) for each  option. They then choose their preferred option and present this to the class. After all groups have presented their preferred option, the class votes on their favorite.
  2. Small groups build on what previous groups have said. For example, one group comes up with an option, a second group imagines what would happen next, a third group talks about what they like about that option, and a fourth group talks about the downsides or trade-offs for that option. The groups rotate perspective for the additional two choices. The group votes on which choice they like the best.

A note of caution

These topics will affect Tweenz in different ways. We recommend the adult pick scenarios that you think the children can meaningfully discusss. Create guidelines to help them share in productive ways. Teachers, we also recommend you only use the School and Friends scenarios. The Family scenarios are best used with parents, school counselors or a licensed therapist in a small group or individual setting.

For more information about the CMM Institute, visit our website at

To learn more about deliberations, visit the National Issues Forum Institute website at


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  • Who would be most affected if this choice was implemented?
  • Who would be left out?
  • How does your response affect what comes next?
  • Does this choice strengthen or weaken your relationships with others?
  • What are the pros and cons of this choice?
  • What would you and others need to give up for this choice to work?
  • How do the different choices make you feel? Name the feelings.
  • How do you think other people involved in the scenario are feeling around the different choices?
  • When are feelings a good guide for action, and when are feelings a less helpful guide?


When playing 3 Choices, we recommend these group guidelines for the student conversations:

If necessary, have a conversation on how we DO respect as a shared platform for the rest of the work.

  • Share your ideas with respect for others
  • Listen respectfully to the ideas of others
  • Build on each other’s ideas
  • Stay open to new perspectives
  • Keep the conversation general (avoid naming specific people in the discussion)
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