At the occasion of an UN joint event , I had a chance to carry out 1 hour long activity for 800+ students (adolescents). I believe the result was quite success, mainly because they enjoyed and learned (so did I!)
We were supposed to come up with an idea for the international environment day, and the objective was to deliver key relevant messages in a dynamic and joyful way. The venue is small gym with 800 GIRLS so the condition was quite challenging (not much movement). The task given to me by other UN persons was
“Do something dynamic for 1 hour with 800+ girls”
Wow….although it sounded so challenging, I wanted to do it and decided to do “Quiz with multiple colors”
First of all, I had prepared recycled papers with 3 different colors.
Then I made a PowerPoint document with quiz on environment. From performer’s experience I tried to focus on things that are common to their everyday life (e.g. use of shower water or supermarket plastic bag), instead of complicated theories and histories which is common to international organizations (e.g. what is global warming and what is going on in the world, etc.).
Each slide has one question with 3 choices and colors, and students holding 3 colored paper will raise one color paper for the answer: e.g. Answer A, Answer B, Answer C
Not only will it promote participation, I thought it will be beautiful scene without moving much, since 800 persons will raise different colored papers (and indeed it was!).
What was important was not to finish with joyful activity only, but also with learning, having them think and discuss what each of us can do for the issues.
In the session, I used all the facilitation technique based on my experience as a teacher and performer (actor, musician, dancer etc.).
At the end of the session, we had the following conversation:
Me: “Regarding what we are discussing about and how to improve, when will we start? Tomorrow? Next week? Next year?”
800 students: ” Nooooo!!”
Me: “Entonces quando (Then when)?”
Everyone: “Ahoraaaaa (Now)！”
After the session, students took initiative to create art work with those recycled paper, and school director decided to conduct this activity every year!
It was a great experience and I learned a lot through this exercise.