Draw a Simple House
Materials/Preparation: Students need paper and a pencil
Time Required: about 20 minutes for the instruction writing; 40 for the following the instructions; 15 minutes for debrief.
Set Up: This can be done as a group or an individual activity; however, all students should see/hear their instructions being followed. This activity works better if you write the instructions in one class period and return to the application in another session.
- Set a timer for 20 minutes.
- In pairs or singles, have the students write instructions for how to draw a simple house. They are NOT allowed to draw the house as they write the instructions.
- Collect the written work.
- Have the students follow the each other’s instructions as you read them out loud. There are two rules:
- They must do exactly what the instructions say. So if it says draw a triangle on top of the square, they have to draw a triangle superimposed over the square.
- They may not assume they know what the author was trying to say. They may only follow the words as written.
In bigger classes, you can include instructions for: making a paper airplane, refilling a stapler, tying a shoe, folding a dress shirt, or shuffling a deck of cards. If you choose one of these, be sure to have them bring those items to class.
Evaluation/Debrief activity: identify what was important to the authors – what were the priorities in writing the instructions. Identify what was important as an audience member – compare the two lists. How does this affect communication about an issue? This is easily relatable to any topic/concept in your class that may have differing views