Purpose: Students identify power in its many forms, including the decisions they make.
1. Students explore different forms of power.
Remind students that the exercise they’ve just completed shows that strength and intelligence can become sources of personal power. By asking questions such as the following, prompt students to think about other things that give people power:
- Does health give people power?
- Does wealth give people power?
- Does beauty give people power?
- Does physical size give people power?
- Does knowledge give people power?
- Does popularity give people power?
- Does the ability to communicate give people power?
Encourage students to explain their answers.
Write student responses where everyone can see. Afterward, take a quick poll of the class, item by item, to see how many agree that the things they listed really give people power. Ask students to provide examples of newsmakers or people from the past who used these forms of power. Have them identify what these people have accomplished through their own personal power.
2. Students consider the true sources of power.
Have students name someone or something that has more power than they do. Ask students to explain the source of this power.
Explore examples given to help guide students to the source of true power. For example, if a student says a judge or the courts have power because they can suspend a person’s driver’s license, make the following points in sequence:
- Explain that even though the court has the power to suspend a person’s driver’s license, it does not have to do so.
- Before the court suspends a license, it gathers information on the offense and makes a decision about it.
- Prior to the court’s decision to suspend a license, the driver made a decision to violate the law.
- What decision might the driver have made? (Among other things, students might answer: speeding or drinking and driving.)
Lead students to conclude that the ability to make choices is a kind of power. As students agree, add “the ability to make a choice” to the list on the board and circle it. Tell students that they will spend more time later in this course learning about how to make better decisions.