Half the Room

An active whole group activity that uses participatory voting to explore who we are and what being in a majority and minority can feel like.

KS3 | 15 Mins | Teacher led

KEY QUESTION: How do we feel being part of either the majority or minority groups?

Background

This activity is participatory and active and is intended to be fun! It can be used with a class, a linked pair or even in an assembly (we have trialled it with 200 Yr 8’s in assembly setting and with great success). The activity requires a little setting up and explaining and then it is a long and broad as you wish to make it.

Activity

I believe that more than half the room…

…are girls

…like football

…like tomatoes

…have been on an aeroplane

…have never been on a boat

…like Cheryl Cole

…think Simon Cowell is mean

…go to a place of worship every week

…sometimes feel they don’t fit in

…have a British passport

…have a sister

…live with more than 4 other people

…have a relative who lives overseas

…have moved home in the last 3/5 years

1. This activity aims to help to find out about the people present in the room and what they have in common by testing simple statements using true or false. These can be a mix of fun and serious statements and should generate instant responses. The idea is to accept or reject a statement by means of a simple majority (50% +). Some suggested statements are illustrated in the box to the right. You can decide these yourself, or you could give an example and then ask learners to come up with their own. If doing this then emphasise that this is not a competition – no winners or losers.

2. You will need to explain to learners that they are going to be given a number of statements and that they must decide whether that statement is true or false for them as an individual. They will indicate this by a simple raising of the hand.

3. You should make clear that this is NOT about right or wrong answers and that they should vote individually and not as their peers do. If, knowing your learners, you feel it would help, then you could get them to blind vote with their eyes closed (a technique often used in P4C).

4. You will need to record the votes against the different statements, but in the case of larger groups (i.e. assembly setting) this is an approximation as it is intended to be quick fire! You could ask a learner to record the votes or you may prefer to record these yourself.

5. The best way to record responses is on a flip chart/board with a simple accept/reject column. Each statement is written on a post-it note (or card with blue tack) and then allocated to columns accordingly after the vote.

6. At the end of the voting a group statement should be read out that states the positive and negative views of the majority. For example…

We are females who love football and hate tomatoes. We have all been on an aeroplane, but never on a boat. We all like Cheryl Cole, but think Simon Cowell is mean!

7. The serious element of this activity is that it raises the issue of how democracy functions, about who we are as a community, culture and society. It also demonstrates how data is often used (in the media, news, reports etc) to emphasise this.

How do we feel if we are not part of this majority? What does it mean? Does it matter?

Is democracy fair?

Are there some times when my view being overlooked will matter to me?

Does it matter that group statements can overlook minority views?

 

Based on original material created by The Linking Network and Lifeworlds Learning

Resources to download