Get Into Your Groups

Type of Activity:  Problem Solving and Diversity

Source:  Playing With A Full Deck, by Michelle Cummings

Props Needed:  playing cards, one per participant

Group Size: 12 or more

Playing the Game:  Invite your participants to get into a circle.  Give each person a card and ask them not to look at it.   Inform them that it is a non-talking activity and it should be done in complete silence.  Ask each person to put the card to their forehead without looking at their own card.  Tell the groups that you are going to be vague with the directions on purpose and then say, “Please get into your groups.  Ready, go.”  There will be some initial confusion as to what ‘groups’ you are looking for, but people will start milling about and helping each other get into groups based on either number, suit, or color.

It’s amazing to watch what groups form and whose idea of a ‘group’ gets followed.  Usually a few people will step forward and start placing people together.  Sometimes groups will get started placing people into groups by number, but a larger personality person will jump in with big non-verbal body language and start separating people out with what they think is the ‘right answer’, by suit or color.

Groups respond very differently to this activity.  Some groups are very comfortable with wherever people are ‘placed.’  Other groups dig deeper into the reality of what is happening.  Some individual participants may not ‘let’ others place them anywhere and choose for themselves what group they want to be in.

This activity should be debriefed well and allow people time to process what happened.

Debriefing topics:

  • How did you get into your groups?
  • Who determined what groups you would be in?
  • Did the groups change any during the activity?
  • Did you agree with the groups that were formed?  If so, why?  If not, why?
  • Were you uncomfortable in the group that you were placed in?
  • How is this activity like everyday society?  Do we get to choose the groups we are placed in?

Learning styles utilized from the 7 Kinds of Smart:  ~logic smart, people smart, picture smart, body smart, self smart

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