Last week I posted an activity (Consensus Line Ups) that works well with smaller groups. Here's another one that works with smaller groups of six to eight participants. Now, with that said, you could divide a larger group (say 50 people) into smaller groups of six to eight to play this one. Then, challenge all the groups in play to "merge" their small group puzzles together into one massive puzzle without changing any of the small group puzzle words.
The overall idea of Name Letter Opener, for me, is to emphasize that individuals bring different "resources" (metaphorically the letters in their name) to a group. These resources can be used in a variety of different ways to help each other move through challenges together. Before you read through the activity description below, jump down to the Discussion Questions to see what directs for which you can be aiming.
Needs: 3 x 5 Index Cards and some fun colorful markers. (Every participant in the group will be writing his/her first name on index cards – each letter of a name will be written on a separate index card. So, plan to have enough for all the letters in everyone’s first name.)
Numbers: Plays well with six to eight in a group. (Multiple groups can play at the same time.)
Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Process: You’ll want to play this one at a table or a comfortable place on the floor. Give everyone enough index cards so they can spell out their first name – one index card for each letter of their name. For example, if someone is spelling out Linda, she needs five index cards. Peter needs five index cards as well. Michael will need seven. (You get the idea!) Ask everyone to print out their letters with the index cards in “portrait” mode (see graphic above) so they will be able to work with the puzzle challenge a bit easier. NOTE: If someone has a given name like Christopher, he can use 10 index cards or go with five for Chris.
When all the cards are ready, challenge the group to create a “scrabble-like” puzzle using the index cards they have created. Scrabble rules apply: No proper nouns (things that are capitalized), no abbreviations and no acronyms. Words are spelled left to right or top to bottom and all words formed, after the first word, must be connected to at least one other word in the puzzle.
After the group has successfully created their puzzle you can stop at that point and move into some of the discussion questions below. If you have more time continue the challenge. Write down the words that were used in the first puzzle. Now, challenge the group to create a different puzzle without using any of the words they used in the first puzzle. If the group can create a second, can they create a third puzzle without using any words from the first or second puzzle? How far can their resources take them?
As noted above, if you have a larger group of people, divide them into smaller groups of six to eight players. Have each group work through the process above on their own. Then, bring everyone back together, when appropriate, and challenge them to merge all the small group puzzles into one big puzzle without changing any of the words in any of the puzzles.
Have FUN out there my friends. Keep me posted.
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
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Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known author, speaker, and trainer in the area of adventure-based activity programming and its relation to community and pro-social behavior development.
This blog is a space for hands-on programable fun - energetic activities and ideas that can be used as a means to bring people together; activities and ideas we as educators can add to our social development curriculums.