Family Science Learning Overview

In this activity you will explore how your own decisions have multiple impacts and how they intersect with different timescales.

There are many time scales that make a place what is today, and what it could be in the future. These time scales (a place’s histories) span across land, plants, animals, and human communities over time. When we ask “should we” questions considering the multiple impacts and intersections of our decisions helps us make more sustainable and just choices. This activity is intended to help you explore and consider the many dimensions of “should we” questions. You can use the activity sheet provided for this activity, or you can use blank sheets of paper.


This is a two-part activity.

  •  Part 1: Remember a time that you and your family had to make a big decision and explore all the things you considered. Use the “big decision” reflection tool to help guide your conversation.
  •  Part 2: Explore a new “should we” decision and make a “decision impact map” that explores its impacts!

What Can You Do To Support Learning?

  • This is an opportunity to explore an idea, activity or goal that your family has been considering and why it matters to you. For example, planting a garden. It is also an opportunity to explore something that your family has done for generations.
  • Sometimes it is hard to choose a single should we question, consider multiple questions and then compare and contrast them. 
  • Thinking about the multiple impacts may take some practice. That is ok. You can make some suggestions to “model” your thinking. 
  • Consider sharing an idea or wondering about an impact that does connect to your decision. Also consider sharing an idea or wondering that doesn’t connect to your decision. This helps children know that it is good to explore ideas and to think about them together.
  • If you are struggling with this activity you might decide to do 5.C first because it asks you to think about a decision but supports you to wonder and observe around your home and neighborhood. This may help you think about impacts.

Activity Sheets

Connecting with Other Families

Call other family members and share your should we questions. You can ask them about what impacts they think a decision would have and add that to your decision map!

Connect to Other Activities

Learning in Places Frameworks to Consider

  • Modeling Socio-Ecological Phenomena
  • Relationships in Socio-Ecological Systems
  • Collaborative Discussions