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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Chapter 5: Group Focus Session 1: Emotional Car Pool


Group Size: Class size or seminar group

Time Needed: Class period

Physical Set up: Seminar setting

Materials: An invisible sound ball. (You have one in your pocket.) Four chairs for the car pool riders.

Goal: To improve communication and to encourage participation in a discussion or activity without feeling silly or overly inhibited, to improve eye contact and teach and improve non-verbal communications skills, to recognize emotions and what they communicate.

Procedure: Meet & Greet: Have group stand in a circle. Shoulder to shoulder where everyone can see everyone else.
"Class today we are going to do a meet and greet activity called the "Sound Ball". I have a "Sound Ball" right here in my pocket. (Take out the sound ball. It is big so hold it with two hands!)
I am going to throw the "Sound Ball" to someone in the circle. I will make eye contact with them so they know I am going to throw the ball and then, when I throw the "Sound Ball" they should catch it. After they have caught the "Sound Ball" they should change the sound and throw it to someone else. We will send the "Sound Ball" around the circle and see if everyone understands how to play. Ready?
(Throw the "Sound Ball". Woosh. The person catching the ball should catch Woosh. After catching the "Sound Ball" they may make up any sound they wish and throw it to another person in the circle. Ping.... Ping, Flop.... Flop, and so on.)
Wow! You guys are really good. Let's complicate the game. (Introduce a second or even a third "Sound Ball')
Now let's return to our seats and ................................ "

Extra Extra - Sound ball can be used as a meet and greet activity and it is also a potential review for simple facts. Throw the math equation "27/9 =" The person catching would say 3 and throw another math fact. Or history, vocabulary or many other reviews!

Continue with "Emotional Car Pool"!

Explain to the class that you are now going to introduce them the "Emotional Car Pool". Set up four chairs as shown in the diagram below.


Seat #1

Seat #2

Seat #3

Ask the class to brainstorm adjectives that describe emotions that people commonly display. Record & display the words as the class identifies them. List may look like this....

Angry Happy Sad

Confused Worried Goofy

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Ask for four volunteers who will act out the emotions in the "Emotional Car Pool". Explain that a car pool has a driver who drives around picking up passengers.

1. As the driver gets into the car they should act out opening the door, placing the key into the ignition and driving to pick up each passenger. All the while the driver should also be acting out their assigned emotion. Driver should pick up a new passenger every 90 seconds or 2 minutes.

2. As each person gets into the car they should act out opening the door, greeting the other occupants and getting into seat #1displaying their assigned emotion. As each person enters the car the new emotion they bring is contagious so that each occupant of the car looses their original emotion and "catches" the new emotion.

3. As new passengers enter the car they should always sit in seat #1,and the passenger in that seat should move into back seat, so the rest of the class can watch the emotional display.

1. Actors display emotions without telling class. Class has to guess emotions during follow up.
2. Emotions are assigned to people who may not normally display that emotion. Humility is assigned to an arrogant person, shy is assigned to a confident person, confidence is assigned to a shy person, Etc.
3. Actors pick emotions without telling anyone before hand.

Follow Up: Class is asked to debrief by talking about the ways they could see emotions from verbal and nonverbal cues.
Is it possible to confuse emotions? I.e. Anger and sorrow.
Are emotions contagious?
If someone is negative can they bring a group down?
If some is positive can they bring a group us?

Reflection: Have students reflect in their journal about a time they confused an emotion of another person or someone else confused an emotion that they were displaying.

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