Many Japanese speak English. But they do not think our thoughts. They worship at other shrines; profess another creed; observe a different code. They can no more be moved by Christian pacifism than wolves by the bleating of sheep. We have to deal with a people whose values are in many respects altogether different from our own.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

The Mission of Japan, 1937

Line Up!

Choice Card: Line Up!
elementary aged children and up
1-2 minutes
Class Size:
Energy Level:
low to moderate
none (optional flash cards), timer

This is a classic co-operative activity and one of the many activities included in Cooperative Learning by Doctor Spencer Kagan (Kagan 1994). The whole group lines up according to an instruction given by the leader, usually the teacher. Typically players try to beat a time limit they have set themselves.


  • birthday
  • height?
  • alphabetically by name
  • by length of name
  • number of people in family (plus number of pets?)
  • telephone number

Possibilities with flashcards (put the information on the card):

  • animals (height, weight, name, years lived)
  • months of the year/holidays
  • times of the day
  • occupations (name, salary)
  • food (name, price, calories)
  • countries (name size, population)


In cases where there may be ties decide in advance whether players will line up side by side or use paper, scissors rock to decide the order.

Think about the sensitivities of those lining up. For example, people might not want to line up by age or weight.

For those with good language skills it is possible to line up using something unqualifiable, eg likes or dislikes, or abilities or lack of ability. In this case no time limit is used. Rather players discuss with each other the position they take in the line and also perhaps answer follow up questions by the leader