Activity 1: WIT Time - Alien Brainstorm

Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers and tape
  • Timepiece that shows seconds
  • Bell, tingsha chimes or other sound instrument

Preparation for Activity

  • Post sheets of blank newsprint where youth can easily gather and write on them-approximately one sheet for every several participants.

Description of Activity

Announce that it is WIT Time. Remind the youth they will use this time to think about their own answers to today's Big Question. Remind them that the question is "What are we?" Then continue with words like these:

Imagine you are home alone when a little green alien suddenly floats in. You look at the alien and say "Who and what are you?" The alien looks back and says "You go first. Who and what are you?" You are a bit nervous about this alien. You do not know how it got into the house and you do not know what its powers are. You decide you had better do what the alien says, and go first.

Without speaking, write on the posted newsprint how you might answer the question "Who and what are you?" Write as many answers as you can. One answer can be your name. But you are more than your name. You are also "a this and a that and a something else"-maybe a student, or a world famous young movie star, for example. Make at least one of your answers about all of you, not just one-say what and who you, the youth in this room, are as a group.

Give the youth about three minutes to write. When most have finished, ask them all to stand back and read what everyone wrote. Focus on the words "Unitarian Universalists" if somebody has written it down. If nobody has, ask if these words are another good answer for the question "What are we?" for the group. If they agree, write "Unitarian Universalists" on the newsprint.

Now say:

Imagine that you gave the alien a whole bunch of answers. The alien did not react until you identified yourself as a Unitarian Universalist. Then the alien looked puzzled and said "What is a Unitarian Universalist?" How would you answer that? How can you explain Unitarian Universalism?

Allow a few responses. Then say that you want to share a story about young person who had to answer that question.

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