The Unfair Game

Type of Initiative:  Diversity Awareness, Conflict Resolution

Source:  Mosaic Project

Published in:   Setting the Conflict Compass, by Michelle Cummings with Mike Anderson

Props Needed:  You will need a variety of art supplies that vary in quality and quantity.  Some suggestions are: tag board, markers, glue, tape, construction paper, crayons, tissue paper, a snack, notebook paper, etc. 

Lead In:  As a group, discuss the different communities around them.  Let them know that this activity gives them the chance to make a community just the way they would like it.  Brainstorm the essential elements of communities before you divide them into smaller groups.  Decide on 3–5 elements that each group must include in their communities.

Step-By-Step Procedure:

  • Have the group count off by 4 and then divide them into 3 groups.  For example, have groups 1 & 2 join to form a large group, and make a point to move a few from group 4 into group 3.  Now you should have a large group, medium group, and a small group. 
  • Groups should be spaced apart from one another, giving the smaller group the most comfortable and desired space to work.  The medium group should receive the second most desired work space, and the large group should be given a small, undesired work space.
  • Then give each group their art supplies. 
    • Start with the smallest group.  They receive the highest-quality supplies and in the largest quantities.  This group should also receive a snack to eat while they are completing their task. 
    • The medium group receives their supplies next.  The supplies are not as plentiful or as high quality as the small group.  
    • The large group receives their supplies last.  They receive the lowest quality and quantity of supplies.
    • Allow participants to see the other areas where groups will be working.
    • Once the groups have been separated, have students take some time to plan their community.  Ask participants to think with their group about how their communities will look—remembering the essential elements to each community. Have them create their communities on their tag boards to present to the other groups.  Allow 30–40 minutes to complete the task.
    • Bring the groups back together, and have them present their communities to one another.  After each group has finished tell them these are neighboring communities.

Debriefing Topics:

  • Is the distribution of supplies fair?
  • How did it make you feel to see the differences in the work spaces and art supplies?
  • What did each group find most difficult?
  • How did groups deal with difficulties?
  • How did the size of your group play into the success of your project?
  • Did any groups make special arrangements?  Were they successful?
  • What was the effect of differences in supplies?
  • How does this activity tie into our communities?
  • How can we use this activity to look at the larger global community?
  • What types of conflicts could arise between the different communities?
  • Give some examples of community conflicts you have heard about.

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