A Peanut Butter And Jelly Jam
(Be prepared to make a mess and have fun.)
1. Pick a person to be the sandwich maker (this works better if it’s someone who’s kind of in on the game).
2. The sandwich maker tells the group that he or she is a robot who does everything that it is told. However, the robot is very literal, so it does EXACTLY what it is told to do.
3. The rest of the group gives one instruction at a time (“Put the jam on the bread.”) until the sandwich is made or until no one can stand laughing anymore.
The key to this activity is the sandwich maker. The robot must do exactly what he or she is told. So when the robot is told to put the jam on the bread, the robot takes the jar of jam and puts it on the bag that the loaf of bread is in! When the robot is told to take the bread out of the bag, the robot can’t do it because the bread bag isn’t open! Have a lot of fun with this, it’s messy and makes a great point.
It’s a little harder to tell someone how to make a sandwich than you thought right?! Try telling a robot how to tie its shoes. Or for that matter, walk across the room. It’s quite hard. Communication involves a lot of assumptions. An assumption is when you expect someone to know what you’re talking about. You assumed that when you told your “robot” to put the jam on the bread, that the robot would know that it needed to open the jar. Then you might have told the robot to open the jar and it didn’t know how to do that either! Again, you assumed something that is obvious to you but not at all obvious, perhaps, to something or somebody else. My father tells the story of when he learned this lesson the hard way. When he was a kid there was a hole under the porch at his house. His Mom noticed a board sitting on the ground and told my Dad to fill the hole with the wood. Well, my father, being a good little boy, did exactly as he was told and put the wood as far into the hole as he could, leaving a good two feet of board sticking out of the hole. His mother came back from what she was doing, took one look at the wood sticking out of the hole and proceeded to yell at my father for being such a dummy. My father was clueless. As far as he could tell, he did exactly what he was asked to do. However, his mother assumed that when she said fill the hole with the wood, he would use the wood to push dirt into the hole. My father followed the directions correctly but was wrong. His mom gave directions correctly and was also wrong. As you can see, communication can be very difficult. I’m willing to bet this kind of thing has happened to you. You have told someone to do something and they messed it up or someone told you to do something and you messed it up. Keep this in mind the next time something gets messed up. A little better communication can keep a lot of things from getting messed up (and keep you out of trouble as well).
Communication isn’t just giving directions however. It’s also hearing what’s being said and following directions. How good are you at following directions? Try this.
Get The Picture
The instruction sheet on the next page. One for each person in the group.
Pencils for each person in the group
1. Pass the instruction sheet to everyone in your group.
2. Tell everyone to read the instructions carefully and to go ahead and get started.
3. The answers for “Get The Picture” are at the end of the lesson.
Get The Picture
Please follow the following directions exactly.
Do everything that the instructions say.
Read all the following directions before beginning.
1. Circle the word circle in this sentence.
2. Write the third word in this sentence here. __________________
3. Draw a large square on the back of this paper.
4. Draw a large triangle on top of the square on the back of this paper.
5. Draw a rectangle inside the square with a short side touching the middle of the bottom of the square on the back of this paper.
6. Draw a small square to the right of the rectangle in the large square on the back of this paper.
7. Draw a circle above the left side of the triangle.
8. Ignore every single instruction on this page but this one. Turn your paper over and draw a big smiley face on the paper. There should be nothing on the back of this page but one big smiley face. After you’ve drawn your smiley face turn this page back over.
So now you’ve had a chance to see that giving directions is difficult and following directions is difficult. Let’s put it all together with this next activity.