Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Sing to the Power: A Social Justice Program for Children Grades 4-5

Activity 4: Designing Flexible Solutions

Activity time: 23 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Identify the scenario(s) below that you think will be of greatest interest to your group. Be prepared to adjust the number of topics you work with depending on how much time you have available and how long any given topic takes.
  • Choose the scenarios from Leader Resource 1 that you think will be of greatest interest to the group. Consider the time you have available and the number of children. If you wish, add a conflict that has come up in the group or in your congregation as an alternate scenario. Copy the scenarios to distribute to small groups.
  • Optional: Post blank newsprint where participants can gather around it.

Description of Activity

Participants exercise creativity, flexibility, and persistence as they seek solutions to real-life situations in which people have opposing needs.

Form two groups, Group A and Group B. Let them know that they will be working together to come up with solutions to some real problems that people encounter in the world. Remind them that water power involves creativity and flexibility, and that they will probably come up with the best solutions if they think in terms of working with the other group, rather than against them. Point out that two possible strategies are compromise, in which each group gets part, but not all of what they want, and cooperation, in which groups work together to come up with something that works for everyone, which neither group might have thought of on their own.

Have the children count off as "A" and "B." Then, read the first scenario you have chosen from Leader Resource 1, Scenarios for Flexible Solutions. Clarify which position is "A" and which is "B," and make sure each individual understands which group they belong to. Now lead a discussion. First invite some "A" and some "B" participants to state what their group wants, and why. Then ask participants to suggest possible solutions. Let them work together to come up with a solution that everyone feels they can live with. If you wish, use the newsprint to jot down concerns and possible solutions as participants discuss ideas. Making notes on newsprint is also a good way to ensure that everyone's comments are heard and noted.

After the groups have come up with a solution, discuss the process.

  • Did they compromise? Cooperate?
  • Did they feel like both sides were equally willing to consider the needs of others? If not, how did they deal with that fact?

Engage with as many of the four scenarios as time allows.

Including All Participants

Make sure that participants who are quieter or slower to process have the opportunity to speak. Children who have a hard time focusing and/or sitting still may benefit from having quiet, manipulable objects to hold during the discussion.