Three choices…
and then what happens…?

twenty scenarios

You are really stressed about an upcoming test.

You get blamed for something you didn’t do, and your teacher gives you a consequence for it.

My teacher is not happy with the work I do in school and I don’t know how to fix it.

There’s a subject I don’t like so I’m not doing the homework, and now I am failing the subject.

Someone in class keeps giving me dirty looks and I am not sure why.

You have a hard time concentrating in class when you need to be paying attention.

I am afraid to ask for help about a class assignment because I may get teased, but I know I need help.

I want to be by myself at recess, but the other kids won’t leave me alone.

Your friend doesn’t like to read out loud in class and other kids are teasing your friend.

One of your classmates is unable to play the games you usually like to play at recess because of an injury. You think s/he feels left out.

There is a new student in class who is being teased for dressing funny.

You and your friends are disagreeing about something, and they tell the teacher instead of talking to you.

I did something wrong at school and somebody else got blamed for it.

Some people are starting rumors at school that I know are not true.

You see someone in your class getting bullied, but you don’t know what to do.

Someone steals your lunch money and you aren’t sure who it is.

You keep getting in trouble during class, but you don’t really understand what you’re doing wrong. It seems like other kids do the same thing and don’t get in trouble.

There’s a substitute teacher and some of your friends want to play pranks.

Your teacher is going to let you choose groups for a project. Some of your friends really want to work with you. Part of you thinks it would be fun to work with them too, but you know that you’ll probably get distracted and talk.

You will be attending a new school for upper grades soon, and you don’t know what that will be like.

eighteen scenarios

You learn that your friend isn’t invited to a party that you've been invited to. You think your friend will find out and be hurt, and you don’t know what to do.

Everyone has the latest ___________(fill in the blank) except me, and I feel left out.

My friend keeps teasing me and I feel unsure how to handle it.

One of your friends does something to you or to someone else that you know is wrong, and you don’t know what to do.

I want to make friends with someone but I’m not sure if he/she would like me as a new friend.

Your best friend has just moved away, and you miss him/her.

I think I have hurt my friend’s feelings by saying something unkind.

I have made some new friends and my old friends don’t want to talk to me.

Some of my friends are gossiping about other friends behind their backs.

You and your best friend got into a fight and you aren’t talking. You try to apologize, but your friend won’t let you come near him/her.

One of my friend’s parents are splitting up. I think my friend is sad and I don’t know what to do.

One of your friends shared a big secret and made you swear never to tell anyone. You can’t stop thinking about it and the situation really bothers you.

You are not getting lots of likes for things you post on social media. Your best friends get lots of likes every time they post something.

Some of my friends want me to do something I know is wrong, but I’m afraid to say no.

One of my friends won’t play with me anymore and I don’t know why.

You are trying to play a game at recess with a big group of kids, but you can’t agree on the rules.

Your friend told you that you’re “being annoying” but you don’t really know what that means, and they won’t tell you anything specific.

sixteen scenarios

I am upset because my mom won’t let me buy the latest computer game that my friends are playing.

You think it’s unfair that your parents won’t let you go to a birthday party because they don’t know the parents who are hosting.

Your mom lets you watch a popular TV series, but your grandparents don’t let you watch it when you visit them because they don’t think it’s appropriate.

Your mom wants you to read more challenging books for your homework reading assignment. You want to read the easy books because you can get through them more quickly and still have time to play.

Your parents are splitting up and you’re upset, but you don’t know who to talk to.

One of your grandparents has just passed away. You are really sad, but you don’t know who to talk to about it.

My mom asked me to clean my room, but I didn’t listen to her.

My grandparents want me to spend time with them, but I’m bored when I’m with them.

You are angry because your older sibling bosses you around.

Your sibling wants to do all the same things you do, and you just want some alone time.

I want to share something important with my parents, but I don’t think they listen.

You keep being late to school because you need to help with your younger siblings. Your teacher doesn’t know that and wants to know why you are late.

One of your parents is acting in a way that makes you think he/she doesn’t care about you.

Your siblings are taking your stuff and you don’t like it, but you don’t want to have a big fight with them.

I want to ride the bus home with a friend, but I don't want to ask my mom because I think she will say no.

You are at a friend’s house. The friend wants to play a video game that you know is not allowed in your own house.


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-offs that might occur and how others might be affected. This helps children experience deliberation and imagine how social worlds get made one conversation at a time.

Playing the game

It can be played in may 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)