No Two Snowflakes

Type of Activity:  Problem-solving

Props Needed:  Paper

Set Up:  Hand each participant an identical piece of paper.  Ask them to hold the piece of paper in their hands and close their eyes.

Process:  They should keep their eyes closed until you say it is okay to open them.  They are not allowed to ask questions during the remainder of the activity.  Ask the participants to sequentially do the following.

1. Fold the paper in half and tear off the bottom right hand corner.

2. Fold the paper in half again and tear off the top right hand corner.

3. Fold the paper in half again and tear of the lower left hand corner.

After everyone has finished the 3 “tears” ask them to open their eyes, unfold their papers, and compare results.

Variations: You may allow or not allow them to talk to each other during the activity.

Debriefing Topics:

  • What happened?  Didn’t everyone hear the exact same instructions?  Who did it the right way?
  • Interpretation
  • Ambiguity
  • Mental Models
  • Giving and receiving instructions
  • If you allowed them to talk to each other, did that make it easier or more difficult to complete the task?

For resources see:  Quicksilver,

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