Emily Mann stops her lecture and turns to the class. “We’ve been sitting for hours; let’s play a little bit,” the Northeastern University human services professor tells the 15 honors students assembled in a sunny corner of Richards Hall on a Tuesday afternoon. She takes out a stack of multicolored circles the size of saucers with Velcro on one side, and the students affix them to the carpet, into a grid with no particular color pattern. They assemble into a circle and take turns hopping from one circle to another, trying to guess a path that another student—designated the “planner”—has decided on in their head.
“Yes. Yes. Yes. No!” the planner calls, as, one by one, the players collapse in frustrated laughter. Eventually, one guesses the sequence correctly, hops all the way across the grid, and wins the game. Next is a supercharged version of “Simon Says,” which culminates in the players trying to do one thing with their bodies (take a step to the right, for instance), while saying the opposite (“Left!”).
Go ahead and try it. It’s hard!