Resources for Focus on Risk Activity 6 – Weighing the Options: A Look at Tradeoffs

Managing risk includes deciding which option is best for reducing risks. The process requires incorporating the data obtained from risk assessments plus the social, ethical, cultural, economic, and political values of the time. In this activity, students will explore the risk management process for personal choices while “grocery shopping.” They will also debate the use of cost/benefit analysis for making public policy decisions using the protection of endangered species as an example.

This is one of 11 activities that can be found in PLT’s Exploring Environmental Issues: Focus on Risk. To get the activity, attend a training and receive PLT’s Focus on Risk secondary module. Below are some supporting resources for this activity. 


Download the copyright-free student pages that are included with this activity:

Grocery List (PDF)

Endangered Species (PDF)

Cost Benefit Analysis and Ethical Considerations (PDF)

Economic Considerations Within the Endangered Species Act (PDF)


The following tools and resources may be used to enhance the activity.

  • Sharing Space with Sea Otters

    This Sea Otter Savvy music video, created by Wild Lens Inc. Eyes on Conservation, uses song to share the story of sea otters and how threats of hunting and climate change have impacted their migration pattern and population. The video also raises awareness of the threat that marine recreation causes sea otters while simultaneously teaching viewers about the importance of biodiversity and saving endangered species.

  • Animals at Risk from Climate Change Poster

    This poster captures the complex interaction of biological traits and environmental conditions that cause a species to be susceptible to climate change. Thoroughly documented to studies from reliable sources, including the IUCN Climate Change Specialist Group, NASA, NOAA, the US EPA, and the IPCC, the poster features 25 animals that highlight the fundamental impacts of greenhouse gases—causes, effects and risk of extinction—on all forms of life on the planet.

  • Death by Design Documentary

    Consumers love – and live on – their smartphones, tablets and laptops. However, even the tiniest devices have deadly environmental and health costs. From the electronics factories in China, to the high-tech innovation labs of Silicon Valley, Death by Design tells a story of the fast-approaching tipping point between consumerism and sustainability.

  • Teaching About Controversial Topics in Science

    This series in NSTA Reports is based on the NSTA Press book Thinking Scientifically About Controversial Issues: Clones, Cats, and Chemicals. The book examines 10 dilemmas from the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, technology, and mathematics to help challenge students to confront scientific and social problems that offer few black-and-white solutions. It provides the facts and the framework to provoke classroom debates.

  • RadTown USA

    EPA’s Radiation Protection Program has launched the RadTown USA website, created to allow middle and high school students to explore radiation- where it is found and how it is used- in four different environments. The website also has Common Core supported content, including the history of radiation protection, ways to reduce exposure risk, careers in radiation protection, and the benefits of radiation.