This is an experiential activity that helps students/participants understand the feeling of being excluded or of excluding others, and it provides an opportunity to practice group problem solving. It is effective with upper elementary students through adults.
Ask four volunteers to leave the room. Because these four, the outsiders, will be temporarily excluded from the group they must be willing volunteers.
Ask the rest of the group, the insiders, to make two circles, standing shoulder to shoulder. Tell them to pretend that they all are going to a party; however, the outsiders who left the room are not invited. When the outsiders return to the room, they will try to get into one of the circles so that they may be included in the party plans. The inside people are not to let the outsiders in. They may not use force, but may ignore the outside people. (As a variation the inside people may be told that they must listen to the outside people before making up their minds.)
Tell the outside people the instructions that were given to the inside people before letting them back into the room to try to get into the circle. Assign two outside people to each circle. Give them about five minutes. (As a variation repeat the exercise with four different volunteers.)
After completing the activity, form one large circle and ask the outsiders what it felt like to be outside. Ask the insiders what it felt like to be inside. Then discuss who might feel like an insider or an outsider in real life, and how it affects people to be inside or outside of a group.
Source: Conflict Resolution and Diversity by Ellen J. DeBenedetti, Activity adapted from an activity contributed by John Salvato, Bayside, NY
CRE Calendar Usage: 3rd Edition