Outcomes Offered

■ Consideration of the choices

■ Problem-solving skills

■ Decision-making skills

Kelly was on a school excursion to the zoo. Everyone knew that Kelly—especially Kelly himself—had a fantastic imagination. During math class he could be commander of a spaceship traveling to the starry cluster of Omega Centauri, a thousand light years away. In science he might be riding his magic time-machine motorbike into the future. In English he could be captaining a Kelly-designed, pressure-resistant submarine to the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot on earth, 30,000 feet down.

At the zoo, the class was on an overhead walkway looking down into the African wildlife park . . . but Kelly was down among all the animals. I don't know if he knew he was really there or if it was his imagination. Whatever, if he let his imagination run, he could see himself as a great explorer: a white pith helmet on his head, tall brown leather boots on his feet, khaki pants, and a jacket with lots of pockets.

Suddenly there was a loud—and terribly close—roar. Kelly was face to face with a huge, hungry-looking lion. Its long, shaggy, brown mane surrounded a face dominated by a big open mouth and large sharp teeth. As Kelly looked around for a way to escape he saw he had been encircled by the whole pride of lions. His only escape route was blocked by a raging river.

"What can I do?" wondered Kelly. He had to think quickly. What were his choices? He could run, but lions could run faster than he could. He could climb that nearby tree, but he remembered that, in some parts of Africa, lions actually climbed trees. Was it here? He looked at the raging river. If he jumped in he might drown. What was he to do?

Just then he saw a semi-submerged log floating down the river. With one almighty jump he landed on the log, relieved to escape the lions. . . . Then he felt the log wriggle. He felt it again. The log was swimming! It wasn't a log all. He was riding on the back of a crocodile. What was he to do now?

Then he heard another roar, a different roar, the roar of a waterfall dropping over a steep cliff into nothingness. Again Kelly faced making a decision: Stay on the back of the crocodile and get swept over the waterfall, swim to shore and perhaps get eaten by the croc, or reach one of those overhanging branches. Choosing the branch, he leapt, his fingers just wrapping around the bough where he dangled above the snapping jaws of the croc. Hauling himself into the tree, he was face to face with a snake!

Not all snakes are poisonous, remembered Kelly, but some of those that aren't can unhinge their jaws and swallow large animals the size of a young boy. What was he to do now? What were his options?

He could climb higher but, as the branches got thinner, would they support his weight? The snake was lighter than Kelly and could climb higher still. He could jump but, if he broke a leg, the lions would have no trouble making a meal of him. Then he saw a vine hanging from the tree. Perhaps, like Tarzan, he could swing into the next tree, then climb his way down to safety.

He swung into the next tree and climbed down the trunk. His feet had barely touched the ground when he felt something grab him from behind. What could it be? Was it an elephant about to pick him up in its trunk and dash him to his death? Was it a gorilla reaching out to crush him in a huge hug? He turned to find himself face to face with a zookeeper.

"Sonny," said the zookeeper, "We'd best get you out ofhere before something decides you might make an interesting change of diet." Kelly faced another choice. How dare this man stop a great African explorer! Would Kelly break free and run back to the adventures of the jungle, or go with the keeper to rejoin his school group? I wonder what decision he made this time.

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