Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Challenging Assumptions: Step In, Step Out

In thinking about difference and diversity, we need to understand the ways in which we are unique and the things we share. We understand that we can overlap with others on some issues, interests, characteristics and not on others. Moreover, places of connection and difference are sometimes obvious, and sometimes not.

  1. Have participants stand in a circle (there are many variations on this game but the circle allows people to see the entire group)
  2. Call out an identifying characteristic.  Choose from the characteristics suggested below, or make up similar ones that work for your group. When they share the characteristic, they step into the circle. It is important to use your judgment to gauge participant interest and attention span as they may not have capacity for more than 10-12 items per question.
  3. Discuss the activity. Please note that the concluding questions are key.

Initial characteristics are visually obvious. Say step into the circle if you have:

  • Curly hair
  • Long hair
  • White skin
  • Brown skin
  • Shoes with laces
  • Shoes without laces

Second level characteristics are not visible. Say step into the circle if you are:

  • People who like vanilla more than chocolate
  • People who have slept in a tent
  • People who have a brother/sister
  • People who play a team sport
  • People who can whistle

Concluding characteristics that all share. Say step into the circle if you are:

  • People under X years of age (trying to get all in)
  • People who live/study in the United States


  1. What are some of the things you learned about the people in this group?
  2. Are you surprised by any of the things that you learned? Why?
  3. We are all different, but what do we all share?