Spatial Requirements: Regular classroom setup; little or no space required
Activity Type: Group
Grades: 5-12
Group Size: 8 or more
Time: 20-30 minutes

Introduction: This stimulating group activity challenges students to make decisions that will affect not only themselves but also members of a group. They will strategize to win as many points as possible, without knowing the most effective strategy. Students will acknowledge the importance of thinking about how their decisions will affect others as relating to Relational Resilience.


  • 1 tally sheet per pair (See Win as Much as You Can Tally Sheet)


Divide students into pairs, and give each pair a tally sheet. Assign each pair a larger cluster consisting of four pairs (8 students total). Explain to students the objective of this activity: to win as much as you can!

Explain that there are ten rounds in this activity. In each round, each pair chooses either an “X” or a “Y” without telling other members of the cluster. X works better for the pair, while Y works better for the cluster.

In each round, you will give the students the allotted time for that round (see tally sheet) to decide whether they are “X” or “Y” for that round, then allow them to share their decisions in their clusters. Students will then use the score chart to determine their score for that round.

Before each round begins, explain any new rules that will be accompanying that round (See Win as Much as You Can Tally Sheet). When the 10 rounds are completed, record the wins and losses of each pair and the net benefit of the cluster.  Give a round of applause to the winning cluster.

Point out that the optimal outcome for the cluster would have been 4 Y’s each round.

Processing the Experience:

  • What strategies did your pair use against the cluster?
  • Did anyone try to convince your cluster to choose “Y” so you could win with “X”? Did it work?
  • Did anyone pick “Y” every time?
  • If you’d been told in the beginning that your cluster was a team trying to collectively earn as much as you could, how would your pair’s strategy have been different?
  • What would happen in life if everyone only focused on their individual interest?
  • How might it make a difference in society if everyone focused on the greater good of the group?
  • How can we apply this lesson to the culture of our class?
  • How might this give us more Relational Resilience?
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