The purpose of this strategy is to help students consider how they juggle multiple objectives at the same time. This allows the students to tackle and make visible the challenges of problem solving through a simple activity. It also serves to energize and focus a group at the beginning of a lesson.
Invite the group to sit or stand in a circle, then ask students to create the “thumbs down” sign with their right hand and hold their left palm open, facing upwards slightly in front of the person to their left. Next, students shift their right thumbs facing down over the person’s palm standing to their right. The thumb should just graze the open palm of the other person. Explain that the goal of activity is try and grab the person’s thumb that is over your hand, while moving your thumb away from the person who is trying to grab your hand. Both actions happen at the exact same time on the count of 3-2-1-GO. Ask for questions. Then, play a few rounds. After each round ask how it went. Next switch hands so the left thumb is down and the right thumb is up. Try the process a few times with the new configuration.
How did it go? What did you notice about yourself in this activity?
What strategies did you use to be successful?
What does this activity have to do with our preparation for our work together today?
Focus on your objectives.
How does it feel to work for two different objectives at the same time?
How can you improve your skills at playing the game?
Have one of the students count for the group: 3-2-1…GO.
Play with anticipation by counting extremely slowly, or pausing after counting to two and observe how many students go early.