Different Similarities

Subgroup Size



15 minutes

External Cost



Thiagarajan, S., & van den Bergh, S. (2017). Jolt 7: Different similarities. In Jolts! Brief activities to explore diversity and inclusion (pp. 22-24). Workshops by Thiagi.

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  1. User annettebenson1's profile picture annettebenson1 11:32 am 13 July 2022

    Dr. Basma Ibrahim DeVries and her husband Jon DeVries demonstrated a virtual version of this activity during their "Experiential tools and activities for intercultural/DEIB agility & effectiveness" workshop, which was part of the 2022 Step Up Zone virtual conference sponsored by Purdue University's CILMAR: Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research.

    Basma and Jon first used a series of PowerPoint slides, each with a statement upon it, and the participants were asked to guess in the Chat whether the statement was true of Basma, Jon, both, or neither of them. In this way we learned ways that they were similar and different. Together they served as faculty members and Intercultural Learning Circle Coordinators aboard the inaugural semester-long voyage of The Scholar Ship, Jon taught piano, Basma taught swimming, but neither can...(oh, I forgot!). Anyway, it was a fun way to get to know our facilitators.

    Basma and Jon followed this up by putting pairs in Zoom breakout rooms, in which the pairs discussed ways they were similar and different. When we came back together as a group, the pairs took turns making statements, and the rest of the group guessed whether the statements were true of one member of the pair, both, or neither.

  2. User kbellisa's profile picture kbellisa 10:47 am 06 November 2023

    This icebreaker activity can be done in small groups in addition to pairs. The framework provides an opportunity to engage students / participants in a live session (which is different than the previous review about online tool). In this activity, the group of eleven individuals were from different schools and different ethnic backgrounds. To begin, I used two colors of sticky notes and asked the participants to select one. This allowed for an easy connection to similar and different based on the color. In each timed session (roughly about 5 minutes), participants were given a prompt, and to find another partner(s). Then, we shared what the similarity was for the group. In general, participants did not identify the color post it note they were wearing as a similarity, but focused on foods/animals/objects they liked, places they visited or were born, and level of schooling. Overall, the participants really enjoyed this activity and learned a lot about their peer group.