Integrity Ball

Integrity Ball
Focus: Taking turns, interpreting rules, responsibility, trustworthiness, perspective taking
Materials: A soft, throwable ball
Level: Grades 5 and higher
Sources: Adapted from “Fireball” in Affordable Portables by Cavert (1999) who learned it from Brian Brolin.
See also Adventure Education for the Classroom Community by Frank & Panico (2007),Games for Group I
by Cavert (1999), and Journey Toward the Caring Classroom by Frank (2004).
Suggested Procedure
1. Stand in a circle.
2. The ball will be tossed around the group using the following rules:
• No one can make any sound.
• No one is allowed to move except to catch or throw the ball.
• No one may make a bad throw or a bad catch.
3. Explain that each individual will decide how to interpret these rules for him or herself. If she feels she
broke any of these rules, then she is to step back from the circle and kneel down – take herself out of
the game. No one can decide for anyone else, even if they think that person should go out.
4. If students want more clarification of the rules, just tell them that they are to decide how to interpret
them for themselves.
5. Do this for a few minutes, then ask the following questions:
• Without using names, was there a time when you thought someone should have pulled
themselves out of the game? What happened?
• Was there a time when you weren’t sure if you should pull yourself out or not? What
happened? What did you end up doing – staying or going?
6. Discuss people’s various interpretations of the rules. (Was it okay to even move their eyes? What
about laughing–was that okay?) There are no right or wrong answers.
7. Invite everyone back into the game and try another round.
8. Do as many rounds with discussion as appropriate for your group.
Sample Processing Questions
 Why do you think we all interpreted the rules differently?
 Was it easier for you to point out when you thought others didn’t follow the rules, or when you thought
you broke a rule (blame vs. taking responsibility)?
 Do you feel that you used integrity in interpreting the rules? Why or why not?
 Do you think that others used integrity in interpreting the rules? Why or why not?
 What are some rules that we have here at school that you must interpret?
 What are some rules that you have to interpret every day at home or in the community?
 How does acting with integrity make someone more trustworthy?
 Do you behave differently when people aren’t watching, or do you always behave the same no matter
Facilitation Notes
There is no way to predict how this activity will unfold. Some groups have people pulling themselves out
right and left, while other groups can play for a long time before anyone chooses to withdraw. The ensuing
discussions uncover a variety of motives for how someone chooses to stay or go. The important thing to
remember is that there is no right or wrong – it is the discussion that is important. Once people realize that
everyone sees the world in his or her unique way, then they can begin to ask why someone makes a
choice rather than simply jumping to a judgment about that person. This activity can also act as a bridge for
students to take more responsibility for their own choices and lead to increased independence. In many
situations, students rely on the adults and the “rules” to dictate how they will act. If, on the other hand, they
are making conscious choices about their own behavior, they have a greater chance of making healthy
choices. When one’s choice and the rules collide, it can lead to a deeper understanding of why a rule is in
place. Of course, it can also lead to the changing of a rule to meet current needs.
Description © 2005 Laurie S. Frank
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