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Simulation Exercise, Exercise, Group Building Activity

Whom would you like to live with?

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An exercise to show the power of predjudices and to start discussing implicit values and preferences in a group and come to a common conclusion.

Description of the tool

Prepare a drawing of a house on the (paper)board. The facilitator tells the story of family Miller:

"In this house live Mr. and Mrs. Miller with their 20 year old son David. The family lives quite happily together in this house. One day a bad accident happens and father and mother Miller loose their lifes. David inherits the house of his family and lives a single and satisfied life, untill one day David looses his job. David is no longer able to afford the live in the big house by himself. With his last money he decides to split the house into 6 appartments and puts them up "for rent" in the newspaper."

Now, imagine you are David and that you have to choose five tenants from the list of people applying to your add, in order to be able to keep the house.

Task for the participants:
1. choose 5 tenants from the list - individually (approx. 20 min.)
2. in group of 5 to 6 persons choose 5 tenants that the whole group agrees on (approx. 20 min.)
3. debriefing:
- Has the group found 5 common tenants? Yes /No? Why (not)?
- How did the group work together to find those common tenants? What was difficult, what was easy?
- Discuss the reasons why you decided for these persons.

This exercise shows very well the impact of prejudices and different pre-conceptions we have about other people. To have no prejudices is almost impossible, the most important is to understand that these are prejudices and that discussions about differences and getting to know people better can change opinions.

Attention! The debriefing is the most important part of the exercise. Take care of the possible emotions in the group!


  • this is excellent...i used with my social work students at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. Some students were unhappy with me for the exercies (yes, debriefing is sooo important). Some felt that they work hard to be non-judgemental and that this exercise \"tricked them\" into seeming prejudice. I explained the importance of the exercise is to learn of how we may work hard to produce a non-judgemental image but we must recognize our own prejudice within our social work practice and that it is impossible NOT to be prejudice. It is in our continued learning that we help to work with it. I also taught that our biases make us human. Finally no one is \"culturally competent\" and it is impossible. Rather this is a continuum that we constantly work toward!

    Unknown , 9 October 2004 06:21:42
  • this is great. I used this with a group of trainee youth workers in Ireland and they can now use it with other groups. It allows them to explore the issue and question their own core beliefs and values. thank you

    Mary O Dowd , 12 March 2006 16:30:20
  • am sceptical about this exercise, it easily confirms prejudice and categorisation rather than anything else. Should be used carefully, if at all, and as previously mentioned the debriefing is crucial.

    Patrick Gruczkun , 1 July 2011 07:09:06

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SALTO cannot be held responsible for the inappropriate use of these training tools. Always adapt training tools to your aims, context, target group and to your own skills! These tools have been used in a variety of formats and situations. Please notify SALTO should you know about the origin of or copyright on this tool.

Tool overview

This tool is for

Up to 25 persons

and addresses

Social Inclusion, Anti-Racism, Group Dynamics, Intercultural Learning, Personal Development

Materials needed:

Paperboard, list of possible tenants for the house


45 min group work and 1/2 hour debriefing (or longer)

Behind the tool

The tool was created by


(If you can claim authorship of this tool, please contact !)

The tool was published to the Toolbox by

Rene Opsomer (on 18 March 2004)

and last modified

17 December 2008

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