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60 seconds = 1 minute, or does it?


Group 4 – promoting and supporting mobility


pupils from 14 to 18


  • To raise awareness about different perceptions of various notions, e.g. time, depending on different representations that are particular to each individual, even in the same culture
  • To prepare students going on a international mobility program to different perceptions of time


anything up to 2 minutes and 30 seconds


the facilitator needs a watch

each participant needs a chair

if there is a clock in the room, cover it with paper; if the clock ticks then remove it


The facilitator asks the participants to hide any watches they might have.

Then everybody has to practice sitting down on their chairs silently – and with their eyes closed.

Then the facilitator asks everyone to stand up and close their eyes. On the command “GO!”, each person is to count up to 60 seconds and sit down when they have finished. It is important to stress that this exercise can only work if everyone is quiet during the whole of it. Once people have sat down they can open their eyes, but not before.

Ask the participants to estimate for how long they had their eyes closed, and give the first and last ones their time.

Clearly this energizer opens up the whole concept of time and each individual’s relationship to it. You can then go on to discuss whether there are culturally different perceptions of time, space etc.


This will help you talk about different perceptions of reality in different cultures and also within the same culture.

It is a good introduction to any activity about different values (e.g. Abigail).


Silvio Martinelli, Mark Taylor, T-kit 4 Intercultural Learning, Council of Europe, 2004

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