The following is an installment in "Icebreakers 101: The College Edition", a series featuring "Ice Breaker's" designed to promote training awareness and capabilities in the corrections industry.
Do you believe? Is it possible? Or is there no way that the legendary primate is alive?
News items come and go. Scandals and hot topics are temporary. But the existence of Bigfoot is truly a durable debate. And on this subject, everyone can have a strong opinion.
What does the real Northwood’s icon look like? We truly have no hard evidence. For this exercise, there are seven qualities to consider:
All of this is like a just like a jury ascertaining a truth from conflicting stories. We build our perceptions from fragments of legends. We can recreate how these beasts look and act. This is done in “You’re going to love my Bigfoot” in four steps: Preliminary Hearing, Lone Juror, Full Jury, and Adversary System.
- Special powers (if any)
This exercise touches on the court system, evidence, emotion, rulings, and group dynamics. Public speaking and persuasion skills are also honed. Not too bad for a creature that many believe does not exist.
- PRELIMINARY HEARING
The instructor polls the room about their belief in Sasquatch. Stories may come from this and strong opinions may surface. Once all are polled and have had time to have their say, the Instructor delivers these instructions, “The issue at hand is not the existence of Bigfoot. I want to know what you think it looks and acts like. For this exercise, suspend all doubt. In this world, Sasquatch exists. So, on to the LONE JUROR PHASE. Describe Bigfoot as you see him based on the worksheet.”
- LONE JUROR PHASE
Everyone in class will fill in descriptions for the seven the qualities. This is a part of the exercise in which the individual works independently. For example -
Height - 8 feet tall
Weight - 350 pounds
Color- Reddish brown fur
Sound- Wailing howl
Smell- Rancid skunk
Special powers -Elusive. Adept at throwing large objects long distances
- FULL JURY PHASE
The class is split into two groups. Each group will find a truth from all of the varied individual answers. Just like in juries, there will be debate and some will cling to strongly-held ideas, even if they do not necessarily believe in the existence of Bigfoot. One person will write the consensus for the seven qualities.
- ADVERSAY SYSTEM
Each team in turn sends a spokesperson to the front of the room to deliver the consensus description. Without a doubt, the answers will vary. Allow both sides to issue a rebuttal. The instructor may rule on the merits of each quality. The juries turned lawyers may even see the instructor/judge rule a mistrial, as there is no evidence.
Tell it to the judge: Is he or she going to love your Bigfoot?
Special thanks to Kelly Ruonavaara for the title of this icebreaker.
Joe Bouchard is a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections and a collaborator with The International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP). He is also the author of “IACTP’s Corrections Icebreakers: The Bouchard 101, 2014” and "Operation Icebreakers: Shooting for Excellence". The installments in this series include his opinions. The agency for which he works is not in any way responsible for the content or accuracy of this material, and the views are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of the agency. While some material is influenced by other works, all of the icebreakers have been developed by Joe Bouchard.
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Other articles by Bouchard: