Context for this Strategy
Head’s Up is about building ensemble through eye contact and non-verbal, personal connection. It also explores ideas of chance. This fast-paced strategy serves as an efficient, effective way to build focus as a group at the beginning or end of a lesson.
Invite students to stand in a circle. Introduce the activity: when I say “Heads down,” everyone put their heads down. When I say, “Heads up,” please lift your head and look directly at one other person in the circle. If two people happen to randomly choose to look at each other, then you both are out of the game. If you look at someone and they are looking at someone else, stay in the game. Next, I will say “Heads down” and people still in the game, put heads down; people out of the game, step out of the circle and the game to watch. (Students who are out of the game can help point out when players in game make eye contact and should also be out). As the game gets smaller students may need to step closer in to make a smaller circle. Continue to say “Heads down. Heads up” until one or two players remain. When this happens, the others re-join the circle, and the game re-starts with every player for another round.
- What did you notice about yourself as you participated in the activity?
- What did we do in this activity? What skills does this game require?
- Why was there laughter? (There is often laughter when players make eye contact.)
- Why is eye contact important in the work we will do together?
- Let’s adjust the circle to see who is still playing.
- Remember you must choose a specific person as your point of focus each time you look up.
- Instead of stepping back, when two students make eye contact, have them switch places and stay in the circle. In this version, there is no way to be “out.”
- MATH: Invite someone to take a quick count of the number of the group still in the game each round. Chart the numbers and explore proportions, percentages, ratios, or probability