Lesson Plan on Group Strengths and Weaknesses

SoundOut students brainstorming their definitions of student voice.
SoundOut students in Seattle brainstorming their definitions of student voice.


Introduction: Inquiry based lesson plan for 8-40 students and adult participants

Goal: When this session is complete, participants should be able to…

  • Help people get to know each other better
  • Establish respect by building awareness of the talents and capacities in the group

Time: 40 minutes

Materials: Flip chart paper and markers, blank paper and crayons


Considerations: Building respect means learning to see people as individuals and as resources. Far too often we tend to assume that because of their age, students have less to contribute in terms of skills and abilities than adults. When students and adults are going to be working together on projects it is particularly important to take time to find out individuals’ gifts and capacities. Since many people are uncomfortable talking about what they’re good at – it might feel like bragging- you’ll need to ask the question in several ways. It’s also important to encourage people to think creatively and include things that might seem insignificant to them.



  1. Split people into groups of about five, Hand out paper and crayons to each group.
  1. Present the outline of a shield on a piece of flip chart paper. Spilt the outline into 5 boxes.
    • Things you enjoy doing
    • Things you can build or make
    • Things you know about
    • A successful experience you had
    • Other strengths and things you are good at
  1. Instruct participants to draw a similar shield with 5 boxes on their pieces of paper. Then tell them that in each box they are to draw symbols that answer the questioning the box. Tell them to be creative, think broadly, include little things. Give them about fifteen or twenty minutes.
  1. When they are almost finished, tell participants to turn their paper over and write three weaknesses or things they wish they were better at or things they would like to change about themselves.
  1. After participants have had enough time to draw, ask them to share their pictures in small groups. Each person should explain everything on the front of the picture and read at least one thing she or he wrote on the back. Ask the other people in the group to listen for clues about other strengths the speaker might have. After each person is done explaining his or her shield, the rest of the group takes two minutes to ask questions or suggest other possible strengths.
  1. When everyone in the group has reported out, ask each group to create a master list of strengths and skills.
  1. Post the lists. Have people look around and read what is posted. Close wit a couple of questions:
    • How did it feel to talk about your strengths?
    • What was it like to listen to others’ strengths?
    • Did anything surprise you?
    • What do the lists tell you about this group?
    • Are there any things missing that we are going to need?


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