People, Shelter, Storm
People Shelter Storm requires students to shift roles and quickly organize themselves into three-person group formations based on specific prompts. The activity gets students moving, listening and practicing reasoning skills. It can also be used as metaphor for inquiry around habitats, basic needs, and group problem-solving.
Invite students to make a group of three. Introduce the activity: In your group of three, two people represent a “shelter” (they face each other and raise their arms so that palms meet to form an angled roof) and one person represents “people” standing underneath/inside the two-person “shelter.” When I call out “people,” the person in the center of each group will leave their shelters and run to a different “shelter” pair, while all the “shelter” pairs stay in place. Practice “people” a few times. Next, when I call out “shelter,” the students making a shelter will break apart, the people stay in place, and the shelters must find a new person to make a shelter over. Explain that shelters can and should separate. They don’t need to travel together to find a new person. Try “shelter” once or twice, making new shelters around the space. Introduce the final cue. When I call out “storm,” everyone moves and makes a new group of three. You can choose to remain in the same position or change—shelters can become people and people can become shelters as long as every shelter has a person. Once directions are understood, the game begins. Alternate between calling out “people,” “shelter,” and “storm” in random order.
- What did you notice about yourself as you participated in this activity? What did you notice about the group?
- What strategies did you use to find a new trio?
- What connections can we make between this strategy and our current work in the classroom?
- Remember, only the shelters (or people) can move!
- Find a group as quickly as possible!
- With uneven numbers the last person to get in a group of three becomes the next caller or the teacher can also play.
- Allow students to add in sounds or movements during the storm transition.
- Science: Have the group make their own 3-person images to represent different habitats and an animal that might live in it. Explore different types of storms or natural disasters like earthquake, tornado or tsunami; develop a unique movement vocabulary for each event.
- MATH: Have 2/3 play as assigned numbers and 1/3 play with a card that has < on one side and > on the other. Each new group of 3 requires the trio to flip the middle card to the correct direction.
Augusto Boal and others