Workshop 1


Workshop’s duration// 45-50 min.
Location// indoor, in the classroom
Equipment needed// chairs, a picture of a seesaw, pages of recycled paper, a bin.

Learning objectives: 

  1. Explore the concept of diversity within their own group in order to be more familiar with other possible situations outside school.

  2. Discuss, exchange views on the importance of equal opportunities for all.

  3. To foster empathy and understanding of both how others should treat us and how we should treat others.

  4. To explore equality for people with disabilities and find ways to collaborate and share common experiences with them.

  5. Το cultivate greater tolerance for people with other abilities, skills and characteristics 

core competencies // critical thinking, flexibility, communication, friendship, empathy
keywords // equal opportunities, human rights, civil rights, different skills 

Energizer (5 min) 

The balance game 

The students are athletes who have just reached the Olympics.
But before they compete, they want to visit their friends who are injured athletes at the rehabilitation center. In fact, they trained so hard that they are now out of balance. 

The students’ goal is to make them feel better by playing the game below.

  1. The game starts with a little imagination. Ask the students to imagine that the floor is transformed into a huge wooden seesaw, like the ones on the playground. Depending on where the children are standing, the seesaw can lean to one side or the other.
  2. Τheir goal is to find the perfect balance on this imaginary seesaw.
  3. Students walk around the room and with your clap stop at the spot where they are.
    Ask them to look around and decide if the imaginary seesaw is balanced. If not, you can ask them what they should change.
  4. Repeat the process while mentioning that it is easier to create balance when all the gaps in the space are filled at any moment.
  5. If they manage to balance the imaginary seesaw three times, they win!

–  Make sure the space is clear so that students can move safely.
–  Show students a picture of a seesaw. This may help them to better imagine it on a larger scale.
–  Υou can boost the team’s imagination by giving more details about the imaginary seesaw.
–  It is possible to use calm music throughout the game. As the music plays the students move, when it stops they should freeze in place.

Preparation activity (10 min.) 

The ball game
Ask your students to keep their position from the previous game and stay where they are. Then follow the instructions below: 

  1. Give each player a piece of paper to crumple into a ball.
  2. Then place a bucket or trash bin in the middle of the room.
  3. Each player’s goal is to throw their paper ball into the bin from where they are standing, without moving or changing position.
  4. You can try it one more time, placing the bucket in different positions for the students to experience different situations.
  5. Ask the students if there was an equal opportunity for everyone to get their paper ball in the bucket. If not, ask them why.
  6. Ask them to create a more equal version of the game.

–  You can guide them to consider different conditions, e.g. distance, visibility
–  During discussions, we recommend that you leave the balls in the bucket to avoid distraction and noise.
–  We have noticed that some students tend to be distracted by the possible contents of the reusable paper. In any case, we encourage you to adopt a green practice for the paper balls

Main activity (25 min.) 

The ball of equality 

This game is based on interactive narration. 

  1. Ask your students to sit in a circle and share the following story with them:
    The story begins in 1948, outside London, in a village called Stoke Mandeville, at the hospital. There, the lives of a group of 16 people who had been seriously injured during World War II would never be the same again, as they were in wheelchairs.”
  2. Ask students if they can imagine how these people felt and share their thoughts.
    Then the story goes on:
    “Doctors were trying to find a way to make them feel strong, happy and respected again. Ηaving the same opportunities with others… So, they started using famous games, creating a version that allowed players to manage their disabilities and have fun.”
  3. Invite your students to create a new version of the previous paper ball game, suitable for players with mobility difficulties.
    In this version, half of the players are standing and the other half are sitting on a chair. This way people with different abilities can play together, having the same opportunities to succeed.
  4. Let participants try different versions until they find a version in which they feel that all players are treated in the same way.
  5. Once they find an effective solution, continue with the end of the story:
    “Years after years, the doctors used more games as they were really helpful for their patients. Gradually, more and more people with different disabilities, like visual problems, joined. The games became more organized and famous. Today, 164 countries and over 4000 athletes are participating in the games”.
  6. Ask your students if they know how these games are called.
  7. Then reveal to them that this was the beginning of the Paralympic Games and the story is real. 

    – We suggest that during storytelling students should not hold the paper balls, it is better to leave them on the floor in front of them, as they are distracting.
    –  Usually, when students are informed that the story is true, they have many questions. You can share more information with them, such as the first original name of the games during 1952, “Stoke Mandeville International Games” or encouraging them to look up facts and photos.

Reflection time (10 min.) 

Create a circle with chairs and ask your students to take a seat. Τhe following questions stimulate discussion:

  1. Do all people have the right to play sports, participate in games and have fun?
  2. Do you think it is possible for someone to be treated unfairly because of their different physical abilities?
  3. Do you have any examples from real life ?
  4. Do you have ideas to enable people with different abilities to have equal chances in everyday life ? Like in school, in the street, in public spaces. 

Conclusion ritual
Hands together. And scream “1,2,3 Olympic power team” by shaking hands.