Stand Up and Share

Play a game to help students build an understanding of others, and encourage them to explore their similarities and differences.
Ages 8-14 / 20
min Activity
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  • Engage in an activity around the invisible characteristics, experiences, and values that shape their identity
  • Practice open-mindedness and honesty, and understand that while they cannot ever truly understand another person in all their complexity, they can challenge their own assumptions and seek information about others

Supporting Research

Research shows that ice-breakers are an effective way to promote interactions between participants, facilitate self-disclosure and open communication, and create a safe and welcoming community. During this game, educators should encourage students to practice self-awareness as they share aspects of their identity with each other, and kindness and inclusivity to show curiosity and respect for each other’s perspectives and backgrounds. 

To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.


Activity Partners

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  1. Engage students in a conversation about their identity. You might explain: “When we think about the different parts of our identity, we may notice that some parts are visible to others, like the way we look or the clothing we wear. There are also other parts that are invisible to others, like our beliefs, experiences, and feelings. We’re going to play a game to help us learn more about each other, challenge our assumptions, and explore some of our similarities and differences. To play this game, we'll need to be open, honest, and respectful.”
  2. Read the following statements, and ask students to stand up when a particular statement applies to them (if they are comfortable sharing). Then, give students the opportunity to look around the room and observe which other students have chosen to stand.
    • I am an only child. 
    • I have one or more siblings.
    • I enjoy listening to music. 
    • I can play an instrument. 
    • I have a special talent. 
    • I have a nickname. 
    • I like warm weather more than cold weather. 
    • I enjoy cooking or baking. 
    • I have learned a new skill recently. 
    • I have my own special dance move (show it if you’re feeling brave!).
    • I use social media. 
    • I enjoy playing sports.
    • I enjoy creating art—like painting, drawing, writing, or something else!
    • I enjoy playing video games.
    • I am scared of spiders, snakes, or insects.
    • I have a pet.
    • I love reading books.
    • I have family members who live in a different country.
    • I speak more than one language.

    Once students have established a sense of trust, consider diving deeper with the following prompts: 
    • I consider myself to be brave.
    • I try to be an honest person.
    • I feel shy or uncomfortable in certain situations.
    • I have made a mistake and learned from it.
    • I have felt judged before.
    • I have said something that I wish I could take back.
    • I sometimes argue with my friends or siblings. 
    • I have felt alone or misunderstood before. 
    • I feel overwhelmed by the news sometimes. 
    • I have felt embarrassed recently. 
    • I have a hard time expressing my feelings sometimes.
    • I have felt pressured by others to behave or act in a certain way.
    • I have a different opinion than my family members or friends on a social issue.
    • I have lost someone important to me.
  3. Afterwards, guide students through a post-activity reflection by asking the following questions:
    • What did you learn about yourself through this activity? What did you learn about your classmates? 
    • How did you feel during this activity? How do you think your classmates may have felt?
    • Was anything difficult about this experience?
    • How did it make you feel when you found similarities between yourself and others? How can we build new friendships, and strengthen existing friendships, by recognizing our similarities? 
    • Why do you think we played this game? How might you approach new people differently in the future after this experience?

If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...

Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call. 
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.

If students in either class don’t have individual devices...

Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.  
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.

If you prefer not using Kahoot!...

Use this document (Spanish version) to prompt students.