An activity to divide participants into randomly selected mixed groups
Allowing a large group to divide itself into small working groups with movement and fun
- Cards or name badges with song titles, animals, or key words written on them ahead of the session.
Number of participants: 51-500, This process works best with very large groups (over 50) in which finding one's team mates can be difficult
Time needed: 20 minutes
Ideal conditions: Enough space for the large group to move around a bit. This is very suitable for breaking a large conference into its working groups immediately after the opening presentation.
Pre-Work Required: Make small cards for each participant (or use the back side of name badges) with titles of simple songs, such as "You are my Sunshine", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", "Jingle Bells", "Happy Birthday to You" and suchlike. Keep it very simple. Select as many songs as you intend to have teams, and write as many cards per song as you intend to have team members. Have participants take one card at random as they enter the room for the day's session. Simply tell people that the cards will be used later in the session.
Facilitator personality fit: Ability to address a large group
When it comes time to divide the body into teams, ask the whole group to stand, note the song on their card and sing it loudly. While singing, they wander the room, finding those singing the same song. Those are their team mates. This is not at all about singing skill, it's about being found. The worst voices tend to be found first!
An alternative approach is to provide pictures of animals instead of song titles on the cards and ask participants to find their mates by making the sound of their animal eg. duck, dog, cow, crow, sheep, etc.
A slightly more dignified approach is to provide key words from the day's content on the cards, such as "Planning", "Revenue", "Revitalization", etc and ask participants to find their colleagues by shouting their key word.
Usual or Expected Outcomes: Teams located with some humor
Source: Els de Jong
History of Development: Developed for a facilitation conference at Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch Ministry of Public Works