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The HUP Activity

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The HUP activity can help loosen up and bond a group of students prior to presentations.

Activity title: The HUP activity

Author: Kath Rothschild

Course: PWR 2

Activity length and schedule: This is a great activity for early in the quarter—perhaps week three or four. Bring this in once students have met and gotten familiar with one another, but have not yet done presentations for credit. A good time to schedule this is the first day of in-class graded presentations for the research proposal presentation, or if you want them to know one another better first, right before the RBA presentations.

Activity goals: Class bonding and embodied experience of the moment

Activity details:

This activity was first introduced to me in a drama class at Pembroke College, Cambridge University. The intent is to create that “gelled” feeling that the cast of a show can have on opening night of a production. Demonstrating how interconnected we can all be is a great way to create buzz and energy before a production—or in the case of PWR 2, before presentations.

At the start of class, once everyone has settled and is present, clear the room and have everyone stand in a circle. Their shoulders should be touching lightly. The teacher (imagining themselves the director of the show) steps inside the circle giving these instructions: “In a moment I’ll be walking around this circle. You’ll have your eyes closed. If I tap you on the back, you’ll jump forward and say HUP.” At this point, demonstrate—it’s a single hop on two feet forward, a movement from having your hands by your side to placing them out, in front of you, with fingers widespread. “Once you hear someone say HUP, your job is to move so fast to follow them, that it’s almost impossible to tell who was tapped. Ready?” Step out of the circle and walk around the circle one complete time. When you feel the energy is right, tap someone. The first time, the HUPS will stagger in. Set up, and do it again, repeating the same instructions: close your eyes. Feel the energy in the room. Even if I don’t tap you, maybe you feel the moment it happens.

It’s important to be quiet—let the students have ambient movement and noise, though. Just ignore it and keep walking, then tap again. The second time, the students are often more in tune with one another, and will HUP more quickly. The third time you do this, often the whole class will move at once, in tune with one another’s energy, creating a big HUP sound and thumping feet. From there, quickly move to welcoming the first presenter!

Additional notes: There is no student-facing material for this—in fact, the less they know about what you’re doing, the better it seems to work!