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Listen Closely




One 8 ½ X 11 sheet of paper per participant


To demonstrate an effective mentor/mentee relationship


Distribute a piece of paper to each student and keep one for yourself. Tell them that you are going to play game and they are no longer allowed to talk.  Instruct them to close their eyes and follow your instructions closely.  Give them the following instructions (follow the instructions yourself as you are giving them):

  • Fold your piece of paper in half
  • Remove the top right corner
  • Fold your paper in half again
  • Remove the top left corner
  • Fold your paper in half again
  • Remove the lower right corner
  • Open your eyes and look at your piece of paper, it should look like mine

Hold your sheet of paper up for everyone to see.  It is not likely that anyone’s paper looks like yours.


Ask why the papers don’t match?
How did it feel to not be able to ask questions?
What would have helped you to do the exercise “right?”

This is also a great time to talk about the mentor student relationship and the need for questions and shared understanding.

Point out what a poor job you did as a teacher (mentor)… not only did you not allow for questions, but you failed to recognize an important fact about teaching (mentoring): The learner (mentee) rarely makes the same assumptions as the teacher (mentor).

Therefore, mentoring must be an interactive process so that the mentor/teacher and mentee/student can understand each other.


Materials needed: Paper and pencil for each participant.

I am going to describe a drawing I have made of a bug.  (Bug drawing attached)  Without seeing the drawing, you are to draw the bug that I describe.  You may not ask questions or talk to each other.

                        Describe the bug.

      • The bug is round.
      • The bug has eight legs, grouped in pairs with four legs on the left and   four legs on the right.  In the pairs, one leg is longer than the other.
      • The bug has two eyes on top of the body.
      • The bug has two squiggly antenna.
      • The bug has two pea-pod shaped wings.
      • The bug has a spot next to each wing.
      • The bug has a triangular stinger on the bottom of the body
      • The bug has two feelers on each foot - one longer than the other, both coming from the same side of the leg.
      • The bug has a round mouth, placed between the two eyes.
      • The bug laid five square eggs to the left of the stinger.

After everyone is finished... Hold up your bug so others in your group can see.  Note some of the similarities and differences.

Discussion questions:

Even though everyone got the same directions, Why don't all the bugs look like mine?  (Interpretation: everyone has a different interpretation, based on his or her experiences.)
What did you think of first when you were told to draw a bug?  What did you see in your mind?
What could we have done differently so that your drawings and mine would have looked more alike?
What would have been the advantages of allowing questions to be asked?
How many of you wanted questions to be asked?

The purpose of this exercise was to express the importance of asking questions. Sometimes we make assumptions with limited information. URI 101 is here to encourage asking questions.

Adopted From OSU


Untitled Document

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