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How diverse is your universe?


Group 3 – specific subject – tool for moral and civic education, religion and philosophy teachers


pupils from 14 to 18, one class


  • To visually see the types of people you encounter in your daily life
  • To begin thinking about your level of interaction with people of different races and ethnicities


30 minutes


  • Clear plastic cups (1 per person)
  • Colored beads (1 color for each ethnicity and enough beads in each color for each person for each question)


Preliminary questions before beginning the activity:

Do you interact with people of different ethnicities/cultures? Do you consider yourself an effective intercultural communicator?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

Put beads (by color) in plastic cups in the center of the circle.  Explain the color chart (i.e. purple beads for Hispanic). Give everyone an empty cup.  Tell participants that after each question is read they need to pick up a bead for the type person they come in contact with.

After the questions have been asked, reflect on what people’s universe looks like.  Is it a good thing? Is it dominated by one group of people? If yes why? How can you change that? Why is it important to work with and live with a variety of people that are different from you?

  • Select a bead that most closely represents your ethnicity.
  • Select a bead that most closely represents the ethnicity of your significant other.
  • Select a bead that represents the ethnicity of your closest friend.
  • The ethnicity of the people with whom I worship are predominantly…
  • My neighbors (at home) on either side of my house are…
  • My doctor is…
  • My dentist is…
  • My teachers are predominantly…
  • My Head Teacher is…
  • My classmates are predominantly…
  • The people in my social circle are predominantly…
  • The author of the last book I read was…
  • In the last good movie I saw, the people were predominantly…
  • The people in my favorite TV show are predominantly…
  • During the course of a day, the people with whom I come into contact are predominantly…
  • The person who I most admire or who has had the greatest impact on my life is…
  • The people in my favorite music group or band are predominantly…


Look into your cup and ask yourself:

  • How diverse is my universe?
  • Did you ever stop to think of how often you communicate with people outside of your group?
  • Did you consider yourself to be someone who often interacted with others? Do you still?
  • What did your visual representation show you?
  • If you have little to no exposure to others, do you think you should make an effort to be more involved? If so, how?
  • Other questions or comments?


Extra debriefing question if this exercise is used in teacher training:

  • If you have little to no interaction with people outside of your group, how does that affect your ability to teach in a diverse classroom?


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