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Activity 1 Topic 4


Similarities and Differences


1 h

Expected learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will be able to:


  • Recognise their personal characteristics and similarities with others

  • Use proper communication and listening skills to share their opinions with others within a friendly environment 

  • Respect other people’s values and personal needs


Active listening, SEL (Social Emotional Learning)

Required resources

Pieces of paper, a room large enough to organise different circles


Annex I. List of individual characteristics.


How are we similar? How are we different?

This activity can be implemented as a first step to get acquainted with the work in circles and to strengthen students’ communication and active listening skills. Students will learn the importance to exchange opinions with others in a constructive way, by leaving space to others to express their viewpoints. 

They will enhance their empathy and sense of common belonging, and also respect the specific characteristics of each person. By recognising elements in common and how we may differ from each other, students will understand the importance to overcome tensions deriving from cultural diversity, in order to achieve the common goal of constructing healthy and welcoming communities. 

Step 1. 

  • Ask you students to Identify 10 characteristics of themselves that they think others do not have. You can help them by using Annex I. List of individual characteristics.

  • They will write them on a piece of paper

  • Explain: you can always ask help if you find this difficult

 Step 2. 

  • Divide your students in groups of 5.

  • Share a big piece of paper that has been divided up into smaller pieces: each student receives one smaller piece and a bigger one is given to each group.  

  • In groups of 5, they discuss their characteristics by taking their own turn.

  • Explain: if you are the only person with a particular characteristic, then, write it down on your piece of paper. If others share the characteristics, then, write it down on the shared piece of paper.

  • Continue with the exercise until everyone has had a turn and there are at least 3 characteristics written down on the shared piece of paper. 

Step 3

  • All the groups will be reunited in a larger one and share their results 

  • Each student will lay the individual pieces of paper on the ground in front of them. Everyone can walk around the circle and read the pieces of paper. 

  • Now, a representative from each group will explain what each shared characteristic means. 

Step 4.

  • Ask students to discuss in their smaller groups:

    • Were both positive and negative characteristics discussed?

    • Are you able to see your shared characteristics in other groups?

    • Would the shared characteristics change if the configuration of your group changed?

    • Did everyone get a chance to participate?

Step 5. 

  • Each smaller group select 2/3 elements considered important. 

  • They will share these elements with the large group and explain why they were important for their group. 

  • One member of the group is allowed to present one element from their group.

Relevant topics for discussion

  • How can this activity help you in your daily life?

  • Did you have time to express your opinions?

  • Were you surprised of the similarities with others?

  • How did you perceive the differences with other participants?

Original source

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