Activities Using This Resource Kit:
General Learning Activities, Demonstrations, Games, Etc.
(3-4) sheets of paper to each participant and keep one for yourself.
Ask everyone to pick up one sheet.
rules: no talking; everyone is to close their eyes throughout the exercise
and listen closely to the directions that will be given; everyone is
to follow the directions exactly. State that the goal is for everyone
to produce identical patterns with their pieces of paper.
eyes are closed, read the directions below slowly and carefully. If
any one asks for clarification or opens their eyes to see what to do,
remind them sternly of the rules of no talking and eyes closed. Simply
re-read the last direction and continue on.
produce many different patterns, depending on the choices one makes
at each "fold in half" point.
You could stop
here and go into a quick debrief about how hard it is to truly specify
how even the simplest task should be done.
may think that you manipulated them with the directions. So do a few
more rounds. Let anyone who wishes to be the leader come forward. (You'll
probably get an Extroverted Activist!) Read the rules again: eyes shut,
no talking, do what you're told. Restate the goal: identical patterns.
Ask the volunteer
to turn his or her back to the group, or to shut their eyes. Then let
the volunteer take over and give directions. They can use your directions
or make up their own. The only constraint is that it must involve at
least three steps, each with a fold and a tear. Enforce the rules throughout.
volunteer uses a lot more words than you did (i.e., they go in the direction
of increasing the specifications.) They might get lucky and get identical
patterns if the group is small, but the chances of success are not great.
Nearly always, there is at least one pattern that is different from
the rest. Repeat the exercise with another volunteer if one is willing.
The point of
the exercise is reasonably easy to see. Specifications just do not always
result in consistent output. The key point is that there is a natural
(learned) instinct to increase the specification when the initial specifications
fail to produce the desired result.
would help us get the desired result of identical patterns?" Describing
the desired output simply and leaving the method up to the person, allowing
more information flow (talking, being able to see what others are doing),
the flexibility to alter the directions based on feedback about what
happened with the last direction, and so on. Point out that all of these
suggestions are consistent with the theory of CAS.
To bring it
home for the Pragmatists, start a discussion around one or more of these
You might want to refer participants to the Minimum Specifications write up in the Aides section of this kit.
Copyright © 2001,
Paul E. Plsek & Associates,