Sunday, April 29, 2007

Red and Green

A Game
Divide class into four or five equal teams.
Distribute ten lollies* to each team.
Each round, each team gives a scrap of paper to the teacher with either 'red' or 'green' written on it, without showing the other teams what is written.
If all teams select green, every team gets another lolly from the teacher.
If one team selects red, all the green teams give a lolly to the red team.
If more than one team selects red, every team gives the teacher a lolly.
*Lolly = Australian/NZ English for confectionary/sweets/candy.

I played this game with my secondary school classes during the final days of the school year and then used it to begin a discussion on selfish versus co-operative behaviour. I would begin the game by displaying a large jar filled with lollies and say that it was quite possible for them to empty it if they were smart. Without fail, in every class I would win back all the lollies, often so quickly that I would give them a second chance with another ten.

Why do we all select red so often?

I would love to try playing this game with adults, replacing lollies with coins - or notes.
Ten points for naming the two players in the picture. Another ten for explaining their 'game'. Ten more for the artist. And a final ten for the location of the picture. No more than one correct answer per person.

16 comments:

michael jensen said...

Because our greatest fear is someone else enjoying themselves...

joel hunter said...

That'd be ol' Plato and Aristotle, left and right, respectively. Their 'game' is philosophy (Plato pointing to the heavenly Forms, Aristotle to the sensuous earth). Raphael's painting is the School of Athens.

Go with Aristotle.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Joel
Sue

John P. said...

dangit...i was gonna guess Plato and Aristotle too. though i thought they were playing Rock-Paper-Scissor.

Moffitt the Prophet said...

And you'll find it in the Apostolic Palace, Vatican City

andrew said...

Sadly I think the whole country is already playing this game in preparation for the upcoming federal election ...

byron said...

Joel - well done on everything - except reading the rules! No more than one correct answer per person. I'm going to give you ten for P&A, but I'm afraid I'll then take off seven each for giving away two more answers. Finally, I'll give you a five point bonus for also providing the name of the work. Total: 10 - 7 -7 + 5 = one point.

Sue - I'll give you one point too. :-)

Moffitt - ten points. Well done.

MPJ - Our greatest fear is someone else enjoying themselves. Very insightful, though I think for my students it was more straightforwardly a matter of having more than their neighbour - it's OK for my neighbour to have something good, as long as I have more.

Andrew - indeed, it was listening to the radio a couple of days ago that reminded me of this game.

John P - ten points.

David Entwistle said...

That sounds great! Heaps of fun and such a simple launch into discussing selfishness and sin. I'll play it with my secondary school classes when we have some spare time.

Donna said...

I played this game with red and blue backs of playing cards in a first year Psych tute. I used to think of it every time I walked across a particular pedestrian crossing in Redfern where there was a steady stream of people walking across the road. Often there would be cars backed up for quite a way but the pedestrians (who had right of way) rarely stopped to let the cars through, though it wouldn't have taken long. That's why we need traffic lights.

joel hunter said...

Well, poop.

Would I rather blame carelessness or greed? Either way, it's red for me!

byron said...

Joel - sorry, you stumbled into a new rule I included to prevent super-sleuth Anthony grabbing yet more points - or at least to limit his haul and give others a chance.

Donna - I often get frustrated at traffic inefficiency as a symbol (and taste) of 'red' behaviour.

David - if/when you do, come back and drop another comment to let us know how it goes.

psychodougie said...

i would love to try it with my scripture kids, but i doubt i would get any back (they'd have eaten them all of course!)

matheson said...

I think MPJ's on to something deep here. Although, I wonder whether it's more resentment of someone else enjoying themselves that is the issue.

For Lacan, our worlds are structured by ideas and narratives about full enjoyment, i.e. the full enjoyment enjoyed by others (i.e. the father) and from which we are ourselves exlcuded. And this is both the seat of all resentment of the law and the reason why we obey it - i.e. because it promises a route to recover some primal possibility of full enjoyment. But, for Lacan, the twist is that these projections of full enjoyment onto others are only ever so many ways to cover over the fact that full enjoyment is impossible, or is equivalent to death, the end of all desire.

lachlan b said...

Hi byron- sorry to post so late on this one.
I played this game with my year nine Biblical Studies class yesterday (though we've been studying 1 and 2 Samuel so we used pieces of paper with 'David' and 'Saul' written on them instead of counters). Some observations
1) At the beginning all the students were confident that they would win all the lollies. Comments like "that's easy- everyone choose David" were common
2)In round one everyone chose 'David.'
3) In round two someone chose 'Saul' and won lollies off all the other teams. From then on it was all over. In every subsequent round at least one team chose 'Saul.' Interesting that one breach of trust meant that everything unraveled so quickly.
4) This is a difficult game if you want to take revenge- though the kids often talked about it, they couldn't take revenge without harming all the groups (but this didn't stop them trying)
5) After the breach of trust it was interesting to observe the way in which the class tried to restore the level of trust. Usually this came through threats from the boys (e.g. "If anyone chooses 'Saul' they are dead") and cajoling from the girls (e.g. "Come on guys"). However at one stage all the groups decided to rip up their 'Saul' pieces of paper and throw them out. A strong move! And yet one group was quick to rewrite 'Saul' on another piece of paper! :(
6) The final round was the only round (apart from the first) where all teams chose 'David.' At that stage no teams had any lollies.

thanks for the great game Byron!

Moffitt the Prophet said...

Actually, it is located on my living room wall. Alison brought back from the Vatican several years ago.

byron smith said...

Lachlan (my reply is even slower than your comment!) - Yep, that all sounds familiar from my experiences of the game. I've never seen more than two successful green votes in a row.

Moffitt - that's where it ended up! I'd heard they'd been looking for it after it disappeared. However, I'm not sure it could be on your wall - it must be your wall since it's huge (and painted directly onto the surface of the wall).