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Icebreaker: Dreaming of a small house in the city

Look to your left. Look to your right. If you see a stack of paper plates and a box of markers, we have the perfect icebreaker for you.

Icebreaker: Dreaming of a small house in the city

People: 5+ participants and 1 facilitator

Materials: A white paper plate (without plastic finish) and marker for each participant

Directions: All participants should receive a white paper plate and a marker. Ask the facilitator to read the script below.

“We’ll start by placing our paper plates on top of our heads. The goal of this activity is to draw your dream house on this plate. However, because of some weird coincidence, everyone in this room happens to have the same dream house. I’m going to describe the house to you, and while keeping the plate on your head, you must draw the house I’m describing.

“First, make a square on your paper plate. Make a triangle on top of the square. Draw a rectangle at the bottom of the square. Make a circle above the triangle. Draw lines on your circle to make a sun. Draw little V’s beside the sun to represent birds. Now, what’s a house without a window to let in that beautiful sunlight? Draw a square within your original square. Add lines vertically and horizontally within that square to create the window panes. Lastly, draw some little grass blades below the house. And voila! Your dream house in the city is finished! How do they look?”

Reflection discussion (led by facilitator):
1. Was it frustrating to draw a picture without being able to see exactly what you were doing?

2. During the exercise, how confident were you that you were drawing it correctly? Why?

3. How does your drawing compare to your neighbors’ drawings?

4. Even though I described the vision in very simple terms, everyone’s interpretation turned out very differently, and well, sometimes messy. How do you think this activity would have turned out if everyone had been able to see their drawings while they were drawing? Do you think the drawings would all look the same?

5. If I hadn’t told you earlier that you were drawing a house, do you think your drawing would have turned out better? Worse? Why?

Even though we might all have the same vision, the success of that vision isn’t always guaranteed. It’s important that we give our team as much information as necessary to help them succeed. Also, share with the team what your definition of success is. Perhaps the measure of success for this activity was for everyone to simply draw a picture on a plate that was on top of their heads without looking. By that definition, if no one gave up, then everyone succeeded. Or maybe the definition of success for this activity was for everyone to draw the same exact picture down to the placement of the last blade of grass. Sharing the complete vision and measurement for success in real-life situations is going to play a huge part in everything, from planning a service project with your club to working on a group project for your chemistry class.

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