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This is a game designed to help students express preferences through action. I teach in Japan, where it can be near impossible at times due to cultural reasons to elicit preferences or opinions so I stumbled across this game.
First, gather about 20 or pictures or postcards of famous paintings. SECOND, print a bunch of money in large denominations.
THIRD, title the pictures on the back.
Next, divide the class into partners or small teams. This exercise works best with about 4 to 6 teams. Tell the teams that they have about 10 minutes to agree on one top 6 list for their team. When they are finished that, they then have to pick their least prefered painting. Once the teams are finished they each get the same some of money. (I usually give 2,200,000 dollars.) Then they are told that the auction will begin and it will be a maximum of 10 or 15 minutes. This time limit is important because it is not possible to auction off all the paintings in that time period.
The object of the game is for each team to attempt to buy three paintings on their top 6 list. They are disallowed from buying the one on their least favoured list. The top bidder gets each painting. The rules are simple, but the strategy can get complex, leading to bidding up, or bluffing. Other teams don't want you to get three. Start the bidding at any price you want. The first painting usually goes cheap, but then they catch on that time is fast running by and the bids get more wild. At the end, the gavel falls and the auction is over even there are many paintings left.
After, the students are instructed that without language, but through action they expressed very strong opinions and that it is ok and even expected. This game is tons of fun and takes about 30-40 minutes.
P.S. I would love to hear how it works for you. Let me know. John ----- [email protected]

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