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Lost in Translation?

Lost in Translation?

Your challenge is to tell a story, but only part of your team is allowed to speak!

You will have 3 minutes to think and discuss the problem and 5 minutes to respond. You are allowed ask the judges questions; however, time will continue. You are not allowed talk to each other during response time.

There are props on the table. You are not allowed damage or alter them. Nothing else can be used.

Your problem is to tell a story, but only part of your team is allowed to speak during response time.

You will pick one topic from a list of story ideas. You will then separate team members into “actors” and “translators.”

Actors will tell the story using the props, but they are not allowed to speak.

The translators will interpret the actions and tell the story to the judges.

There is a stack of translator cards. A translator, before giving a response, must place one of the cards in the container before adding to the story. Translators can play a card and give a response at any time and in any order once the story begins.

After the judge says “Begin” one or more actors will start presenting the beginning of the story. A translator will then place a card in the container and interpret that action for the judges. This will continue until the translators have used all their cards or until time ends.

Once time begins it will not be stopped. You should not repeat a response that has already been given. You will be finished when response time ends or when you have used all your  translator cards.


Props: a clock, small paper bag, women’s high-heeled shoe, shoelace, piece of wood (similar to shelving), sock, dress, small toy horse, large stuffed animal, scarf, sunglasses, a beach towel.

Label one side of the table "Actors", the opposite side "Translators"

Place a container for the translator cards to be placed in on the translator side of the table.

Write the following story ideas on a large piece of paper:

1. Avoiding going to school

2. Caring for a child

3. Teaching someone to ride a bike

4. Seeing a ghost

5. Helping an elderly person

6. Hiking up a mountain


You will receive:

1 point for each common response

3 points for each creative response

5 points for each highly creative response. (The action and its translation will be considered one response.)

1-15 points for how well your team works together.

Examples of Common Responses:

• Translations/actions that don’t make sense.

• Translations/actions that are not associated to the previous one and/or don’t add to the story.

• Translations/actions that do not enhance the story and/or have little or nothing to do with the props.

Examples of Creative/Highly Creative Responses:

• Original or humorous translations/actions that continue the storyline.

• Translations/actions that continue the storyline and allow an opportunity to change it seamlessly.

• Clever/unexpected “twists” to the plot.

• Unexpected or humorous connections with the props.

• Translations/actions that changed a known story (i.e. Goldilocks) but made it fit a chosen theme.

• Responses that bring the story back to topic after a previous response goes off topic, doesn’t make sense, etc.


Have the team video themselves.

Consider how the team separated into groups, did they share cards, delegate duties, or did they rely on one team member to do all the work?

Did they plan out a storyline together?

Did the team build off of each other’s responses to create an actual story line?

Did the team use the props creatively or follow along with their usual associations?

Did the team manage time well?

How could the presentation been more creative?

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