< Back to Classroom - Designing Instruction

Broken Prototype

Broken Prototype

Props/Prep: Yes
Time: 10-15 min
Audience: Pairs
Physical: Drawing

Broken Prototype: This activity has several variations, and can be used for many purposes. The most obvious being the importance of communication. This is done best in pairs, sitting back to back in the classroom. A great activity to induce 100% student participation and demonstrate the importance of two way communication. 

Activity: Students are paired up and sit back to back in their chairs so they cannot see each other. Each student in the pair is assigned a different role, one is the manager, the second is the employee. There are several variations to this game, most using some type of prop.

Time Requirements: 10-15 minutes

Materials needed: Items needed: An abstract shape drawn on a piece of paper & a blank piece of paper and pencil for each pair.  Manager: has the picture, Employee gets the blank paper and pencil.  OR

Items needed: A picture of a simple Lego block structure and Lego blocks – enough for each set of students to have a set necessary to build the simple structure.

Procedure: Students divide into pairs, and arrange their chairs back to back, then sit down facing away from each other. Each student in the pair is assigned a role; manager or employee. Variations:

Option1: The manager has a picture of a random shape (something that is not predictable), and gives directions on how to draw this shape to the employee, who draws the shape based on the managers directions. Questions are allowed, but the employee cannot see the manager’s picture.

Option 2: Phone conversation option; the manager is at the office, while the employee is at a noisy trade show. The product prototype that the employee is supposed to show and explain has been dropped, and the employee must reassemble this object by being directed by the manager back in the office on the phone. There is a problem with the reception, and the manager can’t hear the questions of the employee (employee not allowed to ask questions). Using one way, verbal communication, the employee must reassemble the object based on the communicated directions of the manager. 

Function in Class: To demonstrate the necessity of two-way communication and how much we depend on other forms of communication such as visual, or non-verbal cues!

Source: Deb Dunbar (Professional Development) & Jeff Short (The Business School)& Sharon Aka (SHS)