Skip to main content

Discussion Strategy: Exploding Atom (Quick Tip)

What is it and Why Use It?: Exploding Atom is an out-of-your-seat strategy in which participants express their opinion on their own continuum spoke that starts at the center and moves to the outer most point of the standing circle space. This strategy allows participants to see range of opinions in their group while embodying their own opinion.

Directions: Before the activity, create a series of statements on a topic that will evoke a range of opinions from participants. For example: “Everyone is equal in America.” The full group stands in a large, open space in a circle.  Explain that a statement will be read. If the participant agrees with the statement they should come as close to the center of the circle as possible. (It can be helpful to model this action.) If the participant disagrees with the statement they should stand as far away from the center as possible within a set boundary. (It can be helpful to model this action). Show how each participant is on his/her own continuum between “agree” and “disagree” in their response to each statement. Take any questions. Read the first statement and ask participants to vote with their bodies by moving to the place that best expresses their response between Yes, I agree and No, I disagree. When desired stop and unpack or process the participants responses to the statements. Someone who is standing closer to “I agree,” please share why. Then, Someone who is standing closer to “I disagree,” please share why. Or, Please turn to the person next to you and share why you are standing where you are standing. Re-set the group to a neutral circle between statements to prepare for the next prompt.

Adapted from