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Alternate Activity 1: Bridges of Understanding

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Print Leader Resource 2, Belief Assignments and Name Tags, and pair them appropriately for distribution at the beginning of the activity.

Description of Activity

Form groups of at least three people each. Say:

Your job is to build a bridge together in your small group, using the available materials. This bridge must be able to be crossed. At the end, you must be able to roll, blow, or otherwise move a marble across the bridge.

What will make this interesting is that each of you will be assigned a deeply held belief about the bridge or the materials we are using to make it. You will be given a sticker that indicates your "building identity." Place it on your shirt so that others can see it. They may have words or a symbol.

Once everyone has a sticker, you will receive a piece of paper further explaining your belief to you. You should NOT show this paper to others. Use the information to guide how you interact with others as you build together.

You have 20 minutes to build a bridge.

As they build, walk around the room to see how participants are handling the challenge of diverse belief systems. Once the time is up, test each bridge with the marble to see which group successfully built a bridge. After the testing is over debrief with the group using the following questions:

  • How did this feel? Was it easy? Difficult?
  • What was hardest for you?
  • How did you communicate about things that were not clear?
  • Why do you think you were asked not to share the information on the card with the group? (Because people do not wear all their religious beliefs on their "sleeve.") What values and beliefs do you hold as a Unitarian Universalist that might not be obvious to people who do not know you well?
  • Why do you think your group was successful or unsuccessful at building the bridge?
  • How did you feel about those who disagreed with you most during the activity?

Congratulate all participants on their efforts.

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