In this sensory exercise, participants look at an assortment of objects for 1 minute, then try to remember and list the things they can no longer see.
Number of Participants:
Prior to the exercise –
A selection of 20 to 50 objects (adjust for age and ability level)
A list of the objects (for leader reference)
A table (make sure it will fit all of the objects and your group can fit around it)
a cover for the table
- place the objects on the table
- cover the table with a cloth (In an auditorium, you could put the table upstage of the stage curtains, then open the curtains when it’s time)
- The leader explains:
- that the participants will have one minute (the time can be adjusted) to look at the objects on the table
- then they will list as many objects as they can remember in 2 (again, time can be adjusted) minutes.
- The participants are not allowed to touch any of the objects
- they cannot talk during the observation or the writing period.
- The participants stand near/around the table, and the leader pulls the cover off, saying “Go.”
- After timing a minute, the leader re-covers the table.
- The participants grab pens and index cards.
- They have 2 minutes to write down as many objects as they can remember (Remind the participants that they still cannot talk.)
- When time is up, the participants switch cards with each other.
- The leader lists all of the objects on the table, and participants mark the ones that are on the card with a check mark.
Questions for the participants should focus on their thoughts about using their sense of sight. Select or adjust questions as needed for the group’s ages.
From the observation period:
From the remembering/writing period:
- (Show of hands) Who found it difficult to not touch the objects? Share thoughts…
- (Show of hands) Who had to resist naming the objects out loud? Share thoughts…
- Did you move around, or stay in one place?
- What techniques did you actively apply to help you remember the objects?
- What distracted you, if anything, from the task at hand?
- What else did you notice during the observation period?
- (Show of hands) When you were writing down the objects, who could “see” the items their mind? Share thoughts…
- Who had a “list” in their minds? Was it written, or aural?
- How detailed was your list? (A ball, or a red golf ball?)
- What did you focus on while writing?
- Who had an episodic memory or an emotion that arose in response to a particular object? Would anyone like to share that experience?
The objects could connect to the play a class is/will be studying or producing; select things related to the theme or subject matter of the piece.
Example set of items for Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie
- unicorn knickknack
- Jolly Roger flag
- Gone with the Wind
- picture of Greta Garbo
- picture of Clark Gable
- movie tickets
- top hat
- book by D.H. Lawrence
- $50 in Monopoly money
- seltzer water with quinine
- Braille writing
- Shorthand alphabet
- varsity letter
- blue roses
- pirate Hat
- winter scarf
- Bust of Shakespeare
- lady’s handkerchief
- pack of Wrigley’s gum
- macaroon cookie
This game helps participants focus on their sense of sight – it can be repeated so that they can try different methods of remembering all of the objects. It favors visual learners, especially since the aural and kinesthetic learners can’t speak or touch.