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Time Machine

When and where would you travel if you could go forward or backward in time?

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Were you born in the wrong era? Are you curious about what life was like in the time of Socrates? Or Queen Victoria? How about what it might be like in the future? If you could climb aboard a time machine and take off for any time period at all, when and where would you go? In which time period would you prefer to have lived, or would you just like to visit? Would you stay there?

Ideal Size

Up to 30. Divide larger groups.

Use For

Introductions in the classroom or at a meeting, especially if your topic has anything to do with history, sociology, or technology. Or to energize participants when discussion has faded.

Time Needed

30 minutes, depending on the size of the group.

Materials Needed

None.

Instructions

Give people a minute or two to think about where they would go, and into which time period. Ask them to give their name if used for introductions, and share:

  • Where they would go?
  • Into which time period?
  • Would they want to have been born there, or just visit?
  • Why?
  • Would they want to stay?

Example

Hi, my name is Deb. I am such a sucker for modern conveniences that I would not wish to go back in time. I would choose the future, maybe 2050 somewhere on the outskirts of an American city. St. Louis maybe. I’d like to know that we have figured out how to take care of our planet and how to treat all people with respect and compassion. I’d like to see what kinds of creative technology we’ve come up with. I guess the answers to those questions would determine if I stayed or not.

Debriefing

Debrief by asking if there were any surprises in the group based on similarities or differences. Did most people want to go back in time or forward? Why? Were their choices based on curiosity? Fear of the future? What piqued their interest in certain cultures? Literature? Science? Use their responses as a transition to your topic.

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