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Activity 4: Ethics Obstacle Course (20 minutes), Session 14: Doing Your Good Side

In "Amazing Grace," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Modeling or polymer clay
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Sheet of poster board or cardboard for each small group
  • Assorted other craft materials for building obstacle courses
  • Protective tarps or newspapers

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide how to set up small groups so they will overhear each other as little as possible.

Description of Activity

Ask youth to create model obstacle courses showing things that often stand in the way of right or virtuous action.

Introduce the activity by saying that most people want to do the right thing, but sometimes they fail because of problems that keep them from showing and doing their good side. Peer pressure, for example, may convince some people to act in a wrong way, even though they really know they should not.

Divide the youth into small groups of three or four, and say that each group is to create a model obstacle course that shows some of the things that interfere with virtuous or right action. Point out whatever supplies you have provided, and say that each group will build its obstacle course on a sheet of poster board. The team should try to make a course with five or more obstacles.

When you announce that time is up, the groups will come back together and share their creations. Each group will then (1) give the name of the obstacle, (2) say how the obstacle works in real life, and (3) say what somebody on the obstacle course must do to overcome it. For example, the group might choose to build a mountain and call it Peer Peak. In real life, they could explain, people sometimes want so much to be popular with their peers that they do what the peers say instead of what they think is right. The challenge for somebody on the obstacle course might be to run all the way up the mountain, stand on the top, yell, "I am my own person, and I will do what I think is right," and then run back down and go on to the next obstacle.

Have the groups take what supplies they need and find spaces to work where, if possible, they will not overhear each other's ideas.

The toughest part of this activity may be thinking of ideas. If some groups are slow getting started, you might offer some of these possibilities:

  • Bully Blockade
  • Devil Dungeon
  • Disagreeable Ditch
  • Greedy Gully
  • Hunger Hollow
  • Jealousy Jump
  • Integrity Plunge
  • Lazy Lake
  • Me-First Mountain
  • Peer Pothole
  • Raging River
  • Rumor Roadblocks
  • Stupidity Sinkhole
  • Temptation Tightrope
  • Who-Cares Hurdles

Stop the activity when six or seven minutes are left. Have the groups come together and share their ideas. So that every group has a chance to speak, ask each of them to tell about just one obstacle at a time. Be sure the groups give special attention to the way their obstacles work in real life, so that the fun of the activity does not bury its meaning.

Including All Participants

Be sure supplies and workspaces are in convenient locations for all participants to reach.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

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