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45 minutes

Learning Outcomes

Students learn how to prioritise, discuss and to set a common goal. They will learn to share opinions and argue about the best possible solutions.

Resources & Preparation Needed

Necessary materials:

  • Handout with 12 objects 
  • Scissors
  • Papers and pens

Note: If played online, the teacher could replace the objects on the handout with objects that most people have in their homes. The teacher/trainer could ask each team to actually find all the objects, thus making the game even more interactive.


This activity will make students aware of the decision-making process and how some choices can be hard to make. 

Start the activity to explain the current situation to students: Imagine you travel by plane to your holiday destination, but the engine breaks and the pilot has to land on the ocean to avoid a catastrophe. Now, you and you and the other passengers are on a floating boat including 12 objects too heavy to arrive at an island that they can see in the distance. Without throwing these objects overboard the boat will sink, and all passengers will drown.

Hand out the list with the 12 objects and let students individually decide on which object is the least important (1) and which one the most important (12). You are free to use the handout available for listing up the items. Let them write down their personal choices. It must become a list from 1 – 12, where number 1 is the object which must be thrown overboard at first and number 12 the last one.

Now, divide the class into groups of max. 5 people and let them agree on ONE mutual list. This is the most difficult part as students need to discuss and defend their opinions and agree on a common list.

After time is up, let the teams present their common list in front of the class and evaluate on how they eventually agreed on this list.

This activity can be done online. First, jointly start the meeting with all students and tell them what to do. Give them time to write down their own individual ranking and then split them up in groups (e.g. Zoom allows break out sessions).

Ideas For Reflection

After each group presentation, ask questions like: 

  • How easy was it to bring together all your different lists? 
  • How did the group decision-making-process take place?
  • How did you deal with the different opinions? 
  • What role was played by each member of the team? 
  • Did you negotiate or mediate?

Extra Material



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