The Map

Type of tool: 
30-60 min
Topics addressed: 

The Map is a simulation activity which aims at experiencing different approaches to decision-making and consensus, thus exploring the connection between citizenship, participation and social inclusion.


To create an experience and a reflection on the topic "Participation" and explore its connection to citizenship and democracy.


Cooperative and social learning, based on a simulated experience of re-creating a micro society followed by steaming out, which leads on reflecting upon the learning outcomes of the activity itself and of the experience.

Step by step process: 

1) the plenary group is divided into an equal number of sub-groups . 2) Each group received markers, flipchart papers, masking tape. 3) the trainer provides instruction to each group for the simulation activity itself, (which lasts about 30 minutes)a) the trainer asks the group who has knowledge of geography and who knows how to draw, and instructs the two volunteers to  be leaders in the next 15 minutes and lead the group into drawing a map (can be map of Europe or map of Mediterranean, or of the country for a national group)b) For sure the group will not finish the task in 15 minutes and their result will be incomplete, no matter what do not give extra time, interrupt, and give the new task, by handing them a roll of masking tape and instructing them that they have no more leaders they are all equal and in an equal way they must make a frame around the map using the frame. They have 5 minutes.c) Once the five  minutes are over, the trainer goes to ask the goup for options, what they would like to do with the map and let them vote. announcing the winner of the elections. d) in the meantime the trainer has observed the group dynamics and will notice the person who was most passive or out of the group dynamics and will instruct that person to destroy the map. (observe how the rest of the group reacts) if the pointed person refuses to destroy it, the trainer can put a bit of pressure on the map destruction, on the same person or asking somebody else for a couple more minutes. If the map is not destroyed then it stays intact. In many cases it will be destroyed 4) return to plenary - Steam out. Since many emotions will come into play the trainer should allow a general steaming out and allowing participants to steam out frustration, anger, enthusiasm, whatever emotions came into play, by acknowledging the emotion without necessarily giving it feedback or debriefing it. 5) reflecting on learning outcomes. Make sure all the sub-groups know that they went through the same process, by asking them to retell the process and instructions. Allow them to bring out learning points and reflections on this activity and what did it bring to the surface.6) transfer to own reality. Try and make sure that participants themselves make the connection between this activity and democracy, identifying in step 1 a more liberal approach (who knows does and leads the rest of society - pyramid society structure)  step 2 a socialist approach where the equality and the proccess and collective are more important than the individual skills and capacities, a democratic approach through voting, and  in the end a dictatorship. Then explain that the dictator does not act in person but by pressuring a group which does not have a strong sense of belonging to the society and country they are in, and they are willing to see it destroyed in order to be rebuilt. In the same way the trainer pointed out to the group member who developed the least sense of belonging, either because of self exclusion or being excluded or passive behaviour or chosing a more observer role, those are more likely to destoy the map than those who were more active.  The task of the trainer at this stage is move the responsibility for the destruction not to the person but to the group as a whole, understanding that democracy without inclusion will always be under threat, and inclusion towards participation can be the only way how democracy might survive and endure its threats.  

Materials and resources: 

Flipchart, 4 Flipchart paper, colourful markers and pencils, 4 rolls of masking tape


1) The groups will go through a strong and personal experience that may trigger deep reflections and awareness2) The importance of the concept of participation, and the risks of non-participation are clear to all 3) Transfer the knowledge, skills and attitudes gained to own society


Advantages:  - it can fit any target group with any background, no prior knowledge of politics, participation processes and active citizenships are necessary.- It is dynamic and timelyDisadvantages:- The feedback session and discussion can get quite heated, needs intense moderation and appropriate time for steaming out. - It is important to assess first of all group dynamics and feelings before reflecting on the process and outcomes.

Notes for further use: 

it can be a stand alone session, or an introductory session to other activities on the topic: democracy, participation, citizenship, discrimination, inclusion.  Beware when chosing the person who is out of the process whom you want to instruct to destroy the map, make it is a person who can take it and reflect it openly with the others, and who will not be traumatised by being pointed out. Therefore if there is a problematic participants in this sense, maybe better to point out at the second more passive person who might be out because of language skills, being sleepy, or simply an observer (if you feel you should play safer)  Make sure the debriefing addresses both the rational and emotional sphere, and be available for individual talks after the session should the group feel like it.  Good to combine right after with an activity on social inclusion or an group activity which has more positive connotations with some team building elements. PSThis tool has taken place with the following two variants.1) you do not pinpoint any person to destroy the map, the trainer just asks generally to the group and notices who takes the initiative. 2) Instead of pointing out to the excluded, to point out at the leader or more active to destroy the map, however in that case the tool takes a slightly different direction. "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" 

Average: 4.3 (14 votes)
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