“Knee to Knee” or “Subway Exchange”


“Knee to Knee”

or “Subway Exchange”

Purpose: To exchange as much information as possible about selected topics in as little time as possible.



Group is divided with 8 - 12 participants seated at round tables.


Group Facilitator asks participants to number off: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. . . . Each table is assigned a number, and participants are asked to move to the table with their number . . . allowing participants to meet other participants.


Group leader assigns 4 - 6 topics for entire group. Two participants at each table are given each a topic on an index card of the same color. One participant has an “A” card, the other a “B” card. Each table would have all topics whether it is 4, 5, or 6 topics.


Participants are asked to brainstorm at each table and assist each other in developing a question on each topic. Each participant writes his/her question on the back of his/her card. The questions should be ‘open-ended’ so that they can get detailed responses to their question instead of “yes or no” answers. These questions usually begin with “Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.”

Example: How does your county use parent volunteers?


8 – 10 chairs (total of 16 – 20) have been arranged facing each so that when participants are seated their knees almost touch. It’s important for participants to be able to hear each other, as a lot of people will be asking questions at the same time.

The sets of chairs and groupings are equal to the number participants.

Participants are asked to take something to write on and go to a set of chairs, and find a seat where no one else from their table is seated and no one with the same color card.

Participants with the “A” cards sit on the side labeled “A”.

Participants with the “B” cards sit on the side labeled “B”.


Once the participants are seated, the group facilitator tells participants they are going to pretend they are on a subway that stops every four minutes. At every stop, they must move up one chair. The facilitator instructs participants when to begin asking questions. “A” is given two minutes to ask and record his/her question. Then “B” is given two minutes.


When time is up, participants are asked to move down one chair, and the process repeats several times until each participant has had an opportunity to ask their question to five or six different people. When allotted time is up (let’s say 20 minutes), participants are asked to return to their original table.


Small Group Process: When participants return to their table, they are asked to process with group members what they learned. At least two participants have become “experts” on each topic.


Large Group Process: Each table is asked to share with the large group, the “two” most valuable things they learned from the process.


A scribe records the information to be shared via email at a later date.

Materials needed: Notepads, five different Colors of Index cards labeled “A” and “B”. If there are 100 participants and there are five topics, then you must have ten “A” and ten “B” cards in each color. Round tables and extra chairs for “Knee to Knee” exercise, or group can take a bathroom break while chairs from table are being set up.

Instructions by:

Barbara Ashcraft, MA, LPC

WVDE School Counseling Coordinator bashcraft@access.k12.wv.us