People to People
In People to People, partners collaboratively problem-solve to physically connect different body parts based on prompts from the teacher. This icebreaker invites students to engage in safe physical contact through non-verbal negotiation. The teacher also has the opportunity to scaffold the level of risk through intentional choices about which body parts students are asked to connect.
Invite students to begin walking around the room. Introduce the activity: When I say “people to people,” everyone must find a partner and stand next to them. Once paired, offer a direction. For example: Elbow to elbow! This means each pair must connect their elbows in any way they want. Ideally, both students must follow the direction, so both elbows from both students are touching. Then ask the group to walk the space again until they hear people to people to find another pair again. Play a number of rounds. Vary the body parts connections (elbow to knee; hip to hip; shoulder to hand, etc.) Try keeping pairs together for two or three instructions (foot to foot and add hand to back). Repeat this process a number of times, offering students different sorts of challenges to problem-solve with their partners.
- What did you notice about yourself as you participated in this activity?
- How did you and your partner work together to follow the instructions?
- What factors impacted your success with each challenge grouping?
- How can this activity serve as a metaphor for a larger inquiry or goal of our group?
- Is there another way you might be able to accomplish this instruction?
- Make sure you’re taking care of your partner.
- How can you work together to accomplish your task?
- After students have grouped and connected body parts, ask them to disconnect and respond together to a reflective question: Share one success you had today. Name your favorite moment in the story we read and explain why. Discuss whether you think young people should vote at age 18 or 21. Then, have them re-group people to people, connect body parts and give a new reflection prompt.
- Invite students to offer suggestions for instructions that require careful problem-solving.
- If the group becomes really comfortable with working in pairs, try having students perform the given tasks in groups of three.
- Consider playing without any physical contact; students imagine that they are connecting with magnets so body parts are close together but not actually touching.
- Use this strategy to regroup students into working partners for the next activity.