Activity 2: Move It! Create a Cooperative Machine
Activity time: 5 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A globe or world map
Preparation for Activity
- Identify a large, open area, preferably carpeted, in which all the children have room to gather and move about.
Description of Activity
Gather children near a globe or world map. Explain that today we will talk about our sixth Unitarian Universalist Principle, the goal of world community, with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
Ask the group what a community is. Affirm that a community is a group of people who are somehow connected to one another, who share some goals and needs, and are willing to work together for a common purpose.
Guide the group to generate examples of a community. Affirm a family, the Faithful Journeys group, our UU congregation, my classroom in school, my entire school, my neighborhood, and informal social groups such as a closely connected set of families, clubs such as Girl Scouts or a sports team, town or city, etc.
Now ask the group, "What do you think 'world community' might mean? How can the whole world be a community?" Allow some discussion. Affirm answers that highlight common needs, goals and purposes. Thank all children for contributions.
Then say, "Let's find out if we are a world community in this room today." Pose these questions:
- What countries did your ancestors come from?
- Were you or your parents born in a different country?
- Do you know anyone who moved here from a different country?
- Have you ever been to a different country?
The world is a very big community that includes all of us, as well as people in every other land. How do so many people connect with each other and work together? Let's build a very small community here to see how people work together in a community.
We are going build a community by building a machine. Each of us will be one piece of the machine. We can each decide what we want our piece to do, but it needs to connect to the parts of the machine that are already there. When it is your turn to join the machine, create a movement and a noise to go with it. One at a time, we will join in to make a machine that works together. Once you are a part of the machine, keep making your movement and your noise until I let you know we are done.
Ask a volunteer to begin. Invite children to join in, as they feel comfortable, one at a time. Continue until all have joined the machine. Co-leaders may join, too, as long as one adult remains outside to stop the machine and lead the discussion.
Use these questions to guide children's reflection:
- Before you joined in, what did you think the machine's purpose was?
- How did you decide where to join in and what to do?
- After you joined in, did you notice what other people were adding? Or were you focused on maintaining your own action and noise?
- How did you connect with other people in the machine? (Ask for specific examples.)
- At the end, what did you imagine the machine might do?
- What about the people in the machine whom you could not feel, see, or hear? How did you know you were all part of the machine?
Including All Participants
Children with limited vision or mobility may find it hard to perceive and/or join the action of a busy "machine." You may wish to invite them to go first.