Zoom or Re-Zoom

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

Type of Activity:  Problem Solving, Communication activity, Discussions on Perspective

Props Needed:  One Zoom book, with pages cut out and laminated.  Typically, one page per participant (also see Variations).  There are 30 pages in Zoom and 33 pages in Re-Zoom.  The activity is based on the intriguing, wordless, picture books Zoom and Re-Zoom by Istvan Banyai, which consist of 30 sequential "pictures within pictures."  The Zoom narrative moves from a rooster to a ship to a city street to a desert island and outer space.  The Re-Zoom narrative moves from an Egyptian hieroglyphic to a film set to an elephant ride to a billboard to a train.

There are many variations of this activity.  From a sequencing point of view, this is a good activity to do after your initial icebreakers and energizers.

Directions:   The challenge is for participants to get themselves lined up sequentially, so that their pictures tell a “story.” And, they must do this without looking at each other’s pictures.  If you are using a portion of the book, make sure a continuous sequence is used. 


  • Distribute one page to each participant.
  • Have players closely examine their picture for all the details.  Let them know that they are NOT to show their picture to anyone else and are NOT allowed to look at anyone else’s picture.
  • Instruct players to line up in the correct sequence according to the picture they received.
  • Participants will generally mill around talking to others to see whether their pictures have anything in common.  Sometimes leadership efforts will emerge to try to understand the overall story.
  • When they have done their best, allow them to reveal their pictures to the rest of the group and reposition themselves if they made any errors. 

Debriefing Topics:

  •  How did the group first start solving the problem?
  • Why was it hard to get the story together?  (everyone had a piece, but no-one had the big picture)
  • How many people stayed within their sub-group once they found someone who had similarities on their page?  How is this like the real world?  Do we tend to gravitate towards those who are similar to us?
  • What type of communication was used?
  • Imagine if, at the outset, the group had taken the time to let each person describe his/her picture to the rest of the group.  What would have happened then?  Would the solution have been found faster?  What prevented such strategies from being considered?
  • What kind of leadership was used? Who were the leaders?  Why?
  • What style of leadership might have worked best?
  • How does one’s perspective play into the success of this activity?
  • What can we learn from this activity that will be helpful to the team?
  • What real-life activities are similar to this activity?

Discussions on Perspective:

Perspective is one's "point of view"—the choice of a context for opinions or beliefs and experiences.  Your perspective can be very different based on where you stand.  In the Zoom activity, a page at the beginning of the storyline had a very different perspective than a page at the end of the storyline.  Both pages were crucial to the success of the activity.  In teams, people with different responsibilities have very different perspectives.  Both are valuable and important to the team’s success.  They are both part of the big picture.  How these perspectives are valued and communicated can impact the relationships of the team members.

The outcomes of this activity change dramatically with a few variations.


  • For groups ranging from 25–32 people:  Give each person one page of the book and tell them that this page is 'super glued' to their hand. They must always keep this picture in their possession. Any remaining pages may be passed around the group.
  • For groups larger than 32:  If you have a group of 35–40, you can double up a few people on one page.
  • For groups larger than 50:  If you have a group larger than 50 people, you could consider doing Zoom and Re-Zoom at the same time. Split your group into two subgroups and have them complete the activity separately.  Re-Zoom is a more difficult storyline, so be prepared for the Re-Zoom group to take longer than the Zoom group.
  • For smaller groups, take the first several pages of the book and set them aside. Then hand participants random pages of the book and lay some pages face down on the ground. The pages on the ground could be looked at 3 times for 20 seconds each.
  • With 10–14 people you can take the first 10 pages of the book and set them aside.  Hand the 14 participants random pages of the book and lay 8 pages face down on the ground.  The pages on the ground can be looked at 3 times for 20 seconds.  The task is to get themselves and the pages on the ground in order from the beginning of the book to the end of the book.
  • Another variation is to use it for conference presentations dealing with community development.  As people enter the room, greet them, introduce yourself, and hand them a page from Zoom.  Ask them to find their place in the group based on their Zoom page.  This typically leads to many great conversations about assumptions, connections in community, etc.
  • Use as an icebreaker by handing each participant a picture on arrival.  When everyone has arrived, explain that each person is holding part of a story, and the group task is to find out what the story is by putting their pictures in sequence.
  • Use a time limit to increase difficulty and enhance focus on teamwork.
  • Team performance can be measured (e.g., for a competition) by counting how many pictures are out of sequence.
  • You can also take a few pages from Re-Zoom and put them into Zoom.  Ask the group to determine which pages do not belong.
  • For youth groups or groups that are not able to make the connections between the pages, you could allow a ”5-second frenzy” where they can show their page for 5 seconds to anyone they want.  After time is up, the page is turned back around.
  • For younger groups you can facilitate a no-talking version, but they can show their page to everyone.


Carefully cut the pages out of the book and laminate them or use sheet protectors.  We highly recommend protecting the pages, or it will be a one-time use activity. The activity takes anywhere from 30–45 minutes to complete. By the time someone handles a piece of paper that long it will be wrinkled, folded, rolled, or torn if it is unprotected.

Purchase from the Training Wheels store: Setting the Conflict Compass, Zoom, ReZoom

Fits perfectly in our 9x12 mesh envelope  to keep your game bag organized!

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