Spatial Requirements: Gym/outdoor space required
Activity Type: Movement/group
Grades: 3-12
Group Size: 8-10
Time: 15-20 minutes

Introduction: In large-scale disasters and everyday life problems, it is important for individuals to look beyond themselves.  They must tap into their character of heart and utilize positive energy to think of solutions that will benefit the group or community.  In this activity, students will learn the importance of doing just that, even when difficult and stressful situations arise.


  • 2 blindfolds
  • 1 slip of paper or 3×5 card for each student. Some of these slips of paper should contain a range of injuries that could be sustained in an earthquake; others should contain handicaps that someone could have prior to the earthquake.  A few of the papers can be left blank so that some students will be in full health.  Each paper should contain instructions to the student on how to act with their various injuries or handicaps.
  • 1 sheet of letter-size paper per student
  • Cotton balls


Explain to the group that there has been a major earthquake, and many of the group members have sustained injuries.  Each student will then draw a slip of paper.  Someone who is deaf would be instructed to stuff cotton balls in their ears; another person may be blind and required to wear a blindfold.  Someone who is unconscious could lie on the ground; another may have a broken leg and would be required to hop on one foot.  Someone might have a broken arm and would not be allowed to use it.

After everyone has received their injury or handicap and followed the instructions on their slip of paper, you will announce that our area is experiencing aftershocks and the group must move to safety.  Designate a safe area at least twenty yards away.  Between this area and the danger zone, set up a series of obstacles ahead of time such as tables, overturned chairs, and other objects.  The group’s goal is to move everyone through these obstacles to safety without causing any further injury. This is done by giving each student a piece of paper and telling the students that they must be stepping on the paper at all times on their way through the danger zone.  Students will have to share their papers and pass them back to help others.  They will have to pay special attention to the students who have handicaps to make sure they are safe.

If anyone touches an object or steps off their paper, they have to return to the end of the line.  After this occurs three times, the entire group must start over.  As a variation for older students, have everyone start over every time someone touches an object or steps off their paper.  The activity is over when everyone has successfully passed through the danger zone.

Processing the Experience:

  • Did anyone have to start over along the way?
  • In what areas could your group have improved?
  • How would one person giving up have affected everyone else?
  • How did you feel when you were helping others?
  • How did it feel when you knew others cared enough to help you?
  • Did you see “Character-Heart” in action or feel it in yourself?
  • In the Motivation Formula, where does having character and heart get you?
  • How can thinking of others give you opportunity, freedom, and self-respect in life?
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