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Activity 3: "Twinkle, Twinkle, Have You Any Wool?" Singing Game

Activity time: 5 minutes

Preparation for Activity

  • You may like to read Bernie DeKoven's website for a description of how he invented this singing game.

Description of Activity

What well known song about stars simply poses Maria Mitchell's scientific and spiritual questions? "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Lead the group to explore the metaphor of questioning, an aspect of Unitarian Universalist faith, through music.

Gather the group in a circle. Ask who knows the song, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star?" How about the song, "Baa Baa Black Sheep," or the alphabet song ("ABCD, ... LMNOP...")? Allow some demonstrations.

Ask the group if they notice what all three songs have in common. Point out that all the songs share the same tune.

Invite the group to pass all three songs around the circle, using these rules:

  • One person begins by singing any one of the three songs.
  • When the first person stops, the next person must continue, without missing a beat or changing the tune, using the lyrics from the same song or either of the two remaining songs.

This can become exceedingly difficult. You may want to start with only two of the songs. Or, simplify the game by taking turns only after a full measure of one song has been completed. For example: "ABCDEFG, Yes Sir, yes Sir, three bags full, Up above the world so high..." In the more complex version, you may end up with measures such as "AB, black sheep, little star" and "Twinkle, CD, Have you any wool?"

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