How Can I Take Responsible Risks?

Format
Let's Talk Science

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Students share examples of responsible risk-taking and reflect on how they can take risks.

Summary

  • Students will share examples of people in their lives who take risks.
  • Students will make connections between their experiences taking responsible risks and those of others
  • Students will learn about the importance of practicing taking responsible risks
  • Students will reflect on how they can develop their own abilities to take responsible risks

Setting the Stage

Being willing to take responsible risks helps students succeed at school, in their careers, and in their lives. Taking responsible risks is one of sixteen habits of mind that Arthur Costa and Ben Kallick suggest explicitly teaching and reinforcing in the classroom. Exploring examples of how people in their lives took responsible risks can help students understand what this habit looks like and why it is important. Connecting these examples to their own lives allows students to reflect on their own experiences with taking risks. This self awareness can help students come up with their own risk-taking goals and strategies to help them and their peers safely explore experiences outside their comfort zones. Thinking of strategies for responsible risk-taking allows students to start practicing this habit now, preparing for a career of trying new things without being afraid to fail. 

In this lesson, students share examples of people they know taking responsible risks. Students then connect these examples to their own experiences taking risks. Finally, students reflect on ways that they can practice taking responsible risks and come up with strategies to support their goals. 

This is lesson 2 of 2 in a set that can be used sequentially or as standalone lessons. The suggested sequence for completing these lessons is:

  1. Taking Risks in Your Career
  2. How Can I Take Responsible Risks?

Materials & Preparation

  • Responsible Risk-takers Reproducible (1 per student) [Google doc] [PDF] - provide as a paper or e-copy
  • Reflecting on Responsible Risk-taking Reproducible (1 per student) [Google doc] [PDF] - provide as a paper or e-copy
  • Copy paper (1 per student)
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils

What To Do

Note: If students have not completed Taking Risks in your Career, the first lesson in this sequence, teachers could spend more time explaining what it means to take risks as part of a career. Teachers could explain that taking career risks could involve working in a physically challenging environment, creating a new innovation, or trying a new kind of job. 

Part 1: Examples of Responsible Risk-taking

  • Teachers could ask students if they feel taking responsible risks can help people succeed in their careers and lives. After students have responded, teachers could share that learning how to take responsible risks is a habit that can be practiced and improved over time. Teachers could explain that taking responsible risks involves being “willing to try something that is new to me” and to “consider doing things that are safe and sane even though new to me” (from Habits of Mind).
  • Teachers could activate students’ prior knowledge by asking students to name some careers that may involve taking risks. Teachers could record student suggestions. 
  • Teachers could then ask students to think about someone who took a responsible risk that may or may not be related to their career. Students could choose someone they know or a public figure. For example, students could select a relative who immigrated to a new country. Teachers could model drawing and writing about someone taking a responsible risk on the Responsible Risk-takers reproducible. 
  • Teachers could have students draw and write about their selected person on the Responsible Risk-takers reproducible. Teachers could circulate and help students choose fitting and appropriate examples. 
  • Students could share their examples of responsible risk takers with the class by hanging them on a wall or board or by posting them online on a platform like Wakelet
  • Students could independently look at their peers’ work, and then complete the Connect, Extend, Challenge routine. Students could record their thoughts on the Reflecting on Responsible Risk-taking reproducible. 
  • Teachers could ask students to share some of the thoughts they recorded on their Reflecting on Responsible Risk-taking reproducible. Teachers could also lead a group discussion using the following guiding questions. 
    • Do you think taking a risk had a positive or negative outcome for these people?
    • Is there a connection between risk-taking and bravery? Explain. 
    • What made the risks we shared responsible? How do you know if a risk is responsible?
    • How do you think these people felt when they took these risks?
    • How do you think taking a risk helped some of these people learn and grow? Do you think if they were faced with a similar situation again it would be easier for them? Why?
    • Why is it important to take risks or try new things?

Part 2: Risk-taking Reflection

  • Teachers could share with students that everyone can get more comfortable with taking responsible risks by practicing this habit. 
  • Teachers could model reflecting on their own experiences with risk-taking by sharing a time when they took a risk and a risk they would like to take in the future. Examples may include trying something new at work, playing a new sport, or going to a new place. 
  • Teachers could ask students to independently reflect on their own experiences and goals around responsible risk-taking by answering the questions in part 2 of the Reflecting on Responsible Risk-taking reproducible. 
  • Once students have reflected, students could share some of their thoughts and goals around risk-taking in pairs. 
  • Teachers could inform students that thinking of a phrase could help encourage them to take some of the risks that they discussed. Students could create small posters of their phrases to hang around the classroom or at home. Teachers could create a small poster with an example phrase. Phrases might be simple such as “You can do it!” or a quote like “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new” (Albert Einstein). 
  • Students could create their posters individually or in pairs.
  • Teachers could end the lesson by giving students a chance to share their phrases and give some examples of when they might use them. Teachers could emphasize that having an open mind about taking risks can help students build this important habit.

Details

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Assessment

  • Teachers could assess student understanding of the concept of responsible risk-taking based on their work on the Responsible Risk-takers reproducible. 
  • Teachers could assess students’ ability to reflect and connect their own experiences to those of others’ based on their responses to the Reflecting on Responsible Risk-taking reproducible.

Assessment

  • Teachers could assess student understanding of the concept of responsible risk-taking based on their work on the Responsible Risk-takers reproducible. 
  • Teachers could assess students’ ability to reflect and connect their own experiences to those of others’ based on their responses to the Reflecting on Responsible Risk-taking reproducible.

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