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Students will understand that incentives are used to encourage them to make good choices. After identifying incentives offered at home and in school, the students will distinguish between positive and negative incentives.

KEY CONCEPTS

Choice, Decision Making, Incentive

STUDENTS WILL

  • Understand that incentives are used to encourage people to act.
  • List incentives sometimes used at home and in school.
  • Distinguish between positive and negative incentives.
  • Identify and discuss which incentives work best to influence their own behavior.

INTRODUCTION

TrophyWhat are Incentives? Incentives are things offered to you to help in the decision making process. Incentives are offered to encourage you to act. Some incentives make people better off and reward them for their actions. Other incentives leave people worse off and penalize them for their actions.

We are going to learn about positive and negative incentives and see how they influence you at home and in school. Guess What?! Here is a positive incentive for you. If you finish this activity, you will be rewarded with a game to play. This incentive is offered to encourage you to complete your work. If you do, you will earn the incentive and be able to play a game.

RESOURCES


PROCESS

Activity 1: Incentives at Home
Let's look! Here are some incentives that moms and dads use to encourage choices and decision making at home. In each sentence locate an incentive, then check your answer.

  1. Mommy says, "You can watch TV if you clean your room." [Answer, Mommy says, "You can watch TV if you clean your room." Watching TV is the incentive offered to encourage the children to make good choices.]
  2. Dad says, "You will go to time out if you argue with your sister." [Answer, Dad says, "You will go to time out if you argue with your sister." Time out is a negative incentive offered to encourage the children to make good choices.]
  3. Grandpa says, "You can have $5.00 if you rake my yard." [Answer, Grandpa says, "You can have $5.00 if you rake my yard." $5 is an incentive offered to encourage the children to make good choices.]
  4. Aunt Mary says, "If you take the trash out, you can go swimming." [Answer, Aunt Mary says, "If you take the trash out, you can go swimming." Taking the trash out is an incentive offered to encourage the children to make good choices.]

Does your family offer incentives to you?

Activity 2: Incentives at SchoolSlide
Let's look! Here are some incentives that teachers use at school to encourage kids to make choices.. Find an incentive in each sentence below and check your answers.

  1. Ms. Miller says, "Do your homework and you will earn a sticker." [Answer, Ms. Miller says, "Do your homework and you will earn a sticker." Stickers is an incentive offered to encourage the kids to make good choices.]
  2. Mrs. Ellis says, "No P.E. class if you forget your sneakers." [Answer, Mrs. Ellis says, "No P.E. class if you forget your sneakers." Missing P.E. class is an incentive offered to encourage the kids to make good choices]
  3. Mr. Brown says, "No recess if your work isn't done." [Answer, Mr. Brown says, "No recess if your work isn't done." Missing recess is an incentive offered to encourage the kids to make good choices.]
  4. Mr. Bernstein says, "Pass the spelling test this week, and you can have extra recess time." [Answer, Mr. Bernstein says, "Pass the spelling test this week, and you can have extra recess time." Extra recess time is the positive incentive offered to encourage you to study your spelling words.]

Does your teacher offer incentives to you?

Activity 3: Positive & Negative Incentives
Now you know that incentives are used to encourage people to make certain choices. Let's learn about different kinds of incentives. There are positive incentives and negative incentives.

Positive incentives make people better off and are called "rewards." Look at the incentives above. Money, hugs, stickers, and field trips are positive incentives. These are things you want to get.

Negative incentives make people worse off and are called "penalties." Losing TV time, not swimming, missing PE class, and time out are negative incentives. These are things you do not want to happen.

Let's check to see if you can identify positive incentives and negative incentives. Click here to play.  Why Should I? Activity

CONCLUSION

Congratulations! You have earned your reward. At the beginning of this lesson, you were offered the incentive of a game to play, if you finished your work.

Since you completed your work, you can now choose a game to play

EXTENSION ACTIVITY

With the rest of their class, have the students come up with some different incentives that you, the principle or other people in your school might use. After they come up with some ideas, have them fill out their own t-chart with positives on one side and negatives on the other.

EDUCATOR REVIEWS

  • “I really liked this activity. I think it would be good to ask the students to brainstorm and make a list of incentives that they would like to have use din the classroom that would not have too high a cost in time or money.”

    Linda Hageman, Zenda, KS   POSTED ON July 11, 2005

  • “Overall, I think this is a great lesson. I think that the students in the targeted grade levels would be able to build on their prior knowledge, acquire new knowledge, and relate the concepts to their everyday lives. The students will be able to form connections to the lesson as it really touches on their lives. The lesson is relevant to them. Another thing that I like about this lesson is all of the discussion questions it has to offer. One suggestion that I have is to possibly have the student fill out a "T" chart with one side being positive incentives and the other negative incentives. This can give the teacher an assessment grade for the lesson, the students a reference sheet as they continue to build on their knowledge, and practice with a graphic organizer.”

    Stephanie M., Cincinnati, OH   POSTED ON February 28, 2008

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