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Fill It Up!

Fill it UP!

Props/Prep: Yes
Time: 15 min
Audience: Any
Physical: No

Activity: This activity is all about perceptions, and filling a container full of content. This activity is great to use with a large group of students. Except for 4 students, it is a philosophical demonstration. It is best done in a room where everyone can easily see the front. It will also appeal to your ‘tree hugger’ students as it uses natural elements.    

Time Requirements: 15 minutes

Materials needed: A table, a large glass pitcher or bowl, large rocks, gravel, sand, and a container of water.

Procedure: Identify 4 student volunteers and send them out of the room just outside the door. Then place an empty glass pitcher or bowl on the table. 

  • Call the first volunteer in to the room and give them a container of medium size rocks. Instruct the student to fill the glass pitcher with rocks until it is full. When the student declares the pitcher full, thank them.
  • Call in the next student. Ask the second student if the bowl is full. This student will most likely say ‘yes’. Then give the second student a container full of gravel. Instruct this student to pour the gravel into the pitcher until it is full. You will be surprised how much gravel can fit between the rocks! When the student is satisfied that the pitcher is full, thank them. 
  • Call in the third student. Ask the third student if the pitcher is full. This student will almost certainly say ‘yes’. Then give the student a container of sand. Ask the student to pour the sand into the pitcher until the pitcher is full. Again, you will be surprised at how much sand can be poured into the pitcher. This student may want to pick up the pitcher and gently shake it to settle the sand between the gravel. When this student determines that the pitcher is full, thank them. 
  • Call in the final student. Ask this student if the pitcher is full. This student will most likely say ‘yes’. Give the student a container of water. Instruct them to fill the container full of rocks, gravel, and sand with the water, until it is full. You will be surprised how much water can actually be poured into the pitcher!  Once the student is satisfied that the pitcher is full, tell them thank you.    
  • Debrief: This can go in a million directions; you can discuss incorrect perceptions, assumptions, limitations, etc… The overriding concept may be that what you see and think is not always true….  

Function in Class: This philosophical activity can be used to set the stage for a discussion related to human concepts or misunderstandings, or as a follow up activity after content is presented. 

Source: Sharon Aka (SHS)