Why Do We Have Rules?

Involved & Inclusive
Involved & Inclusive

To get your participants thinking critically about the importance of rules and social customs how not knowing them can affect how we engage with others.


  • No materials are needed for this activity.


Sometimes we may have a difficult time trying to understand why we have to do something or why someone else made a particular decision or action, despite the existence of consequences or “common knowledge”. How do these invisible boundaries affect what we say, do, how we interact with one another, and even what we might think about ourselves?


  1. Divide your group into two smaller groups, A and B, and send them to opposite ends of the room.
  2. Discreetly tell Group A that their goal is to guess the name of the animal, chosen by Group B, asking only yes-or-no questions.
  3. Discreetly tell Group B that Group A will ask them a series of questions and their goal is to answer “yes” if the last word of the question ends with a vowel and “no” if the last word of the question ends with a consonant.
  4. Play this game for a few minutes.


  • Instead of team team against another, play individually. Hand out the rules of the two games to your participants, one half receiving the rules for one game, and the other half for the the other game. have them all walk around asking or answering questions. 


  • The modified version has an increase chance of aggravating some participants. Be aware and attentive.


Bring the group closer together and then engage in some reflection questions.

  • What were the rules of the game?
  • What happened?
  • Why are rules important in a game?
  • What are some other types of rules?
  • What rules have you learned at home, at school, in Canada, online?
  • Are you allowed to talk about any of those if you don’t agree with them?
  • Can rules at home, school, or in Canada be changed?
  • Do you think it’s a good idea to change rules? Why or why not?
  • How have rules changed from when your parents were kids until now?

MediaSmarts. “Cyberbullying and Civic Participation - Lesson.” MediaSmarts.ca. Last updated February 11, 2015. Retrieved May 29, 2018, online from: http://mediasmarts.ca/lessonplan/cyberbullying-and-civic-participation-lesson