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Chaos in the Room – Am I needed?

An important element in Nonformal Education is that we do not teach participants directly, but through the experience, to come to terms with things themselves, or to develop the rules needed to run the practice themselves. In this activity, they have to make independent decisions about whether the group needs the involvement of the individual and vice versa. Let them find out for themselves!

Details of activity


Focus on attention | Teamwork | Self - perception and partner perception | Monitoring | Joint presence | Tuning | Active participation and presence


To begin with, the facilitator explains the task: participants must work together without external instruction and discussion, operating a system to communicate without words, observing each other and handing over responsibility.

First level: one stop - all stops, that is, either everyone moves or no one moves. Participants walk around the room. Not in a circle, but everyone at their own pace, in any direction, in any form. Anyone can choose to stop (freeze during the move). In this case, however, the others must freeze as well! By observing each other, they need to notice what is happening and take over the freeze. If everyone stands still, it is up to someone to decide whether to start, to move again, and so does the others. Someone freezes again - everyone freezes. Someone is moving - everyone is moving. If the system works, you can play with time (longer or shorter freezes), dynamics.

Second level: The task is simple: as many people can move (1, 2, 3, 10…. ) as the facilitator will show. Participants walk around the room. Not in a circle, but everyone at their own pace, in any direction, in any form. The facilitator shows a number (e.g. 1), then one person can move, the others have to freeze - but who is moving cannot discuss it, they have to adapt to each other’s decisions. If everyone is frozen and no one is moving, you need someone to take it. If more people stay on the move, they need to notice that they are not needed. The exercise continues, with the occupation manager taking turns showing how many to move (this can be started from freezing or from movement).

Third level: the group is in a circle. The facilitator shows numbers. There should be as many people in the circle as he shows. This is difficult to achieve precisely and cannot be expected to always succeed. Important: Once someone has stepped in the circle, they cannot step back. If you can't hit the number, there's no problem, you can try again, it's allowed.

Eligible competencies, skills, attitudes

Cooperation without words | Taking and transfer of responsibility | Does the group need me? | Decision | Don't be afraid of the mistake!

Related or background activity

Not a starting game: it can be applied in the first stage of the training process, but it is good if the participants already know each other.

Form of work

Full group

Time of activity

20-25 minutes 

Age group

Over 8 years of age

Tool, material



Deaf Culture / awareness / discussion

For Deaf participants, it is important to visually show the numbers at the second and third levels

Wordless collaboration with observation


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