Tapestry of Faith: Love Connects Us: A Program on Living in Unitarian Universalist Covenant for Grades 4-5

Activity 2: Machine Game

Activity time: 10 minutes

Preparation for Activity

  • Make sure you have a large, open space where the group has room to form a machine together.

Description of Activity

A basic element of helping one another is the experience of responding to others and joining them in a cooperative effort. This game fosters cooperation and demonstrates how a group of people working together can create something no one person can even imagine alone.

Gather participants in a circle and tell them they will all build a machine together without any planning or discussion. The first person to volunteer will stand up and choose a movement and sound to begin the machine. Once the first player establishes a repetitive movement and sound, the next volunteer joins in. They should choose their own movement and sound, connected or responding to the first player. The goal is to build a single, complicated (and perhaps inexplicable) machine. All players are welcome to move any parts of their bodies, but movements should be repetitive and each player should remain in the location they choose.

Ask a volunteer to begin. Encourage participants to join the machine, one at a time, adding their movement and sound. Once everyone has joined in, allow the "machine" to run for a few moments. Then, end the game. If you have time, play again.

When you have disassembled the machine, invite participants to discuss the experience:

  • How did it feel to be part of a group machine?
  • In what ways, if any, did you adapt your movements or sounds to include new parts of the machine as new players joined?
  • What did you think the machine was for at the beginning? Did you think it had another purpose, later on, as new people joined in?
  • Think of a group you are in, like a team or band. Do you see any similarities between building the machine and other group activities in which you work with others to create something together?