Fair/UnFair Game

Students play a strange game in which the rules are not clear and do not seem fair.

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  1. Divide students into teams and tell them they will be playing a game. Note: You might want to arrange the teams beforehand to make sure that eye colour is distributed. One of our test teachers, Lindsay, noticed it was really hard for students to pick up on discrimination based on eye colour when there were too few blued-eyed students.
    • Begin the “FUF” Game: Go from team to team and have a student give a word.
    • Regardless of the word, give the team five points if the player has brown eyes and take off a point if the player has blue or green eyes (but do not tell them the criteria for scoring).
    • Go through a couple of rounds of this procedure and then have the teams discuss what they think the rules are. Keep playing, but increase the scoring or the penalties erratically and at your whim (e.g. give 32 points for brown eyes and take off 26 points for blue eyes). At this point students may become frustrated. This is a good thing since students experience the unfairness of the situation and the confusion of not knowing the rules.
    • Eventually, tell students the rules.
  2. Discuss the fairness of this game and how this relates to the immigrant experience (racism, not knowing rules).
  3. Ask students how they felt as they played the game and also how they felt once they found out the rules.
    • Point out the discriminatory overtones of the game because students were not judged on performance but on a physical characteristic over which they had no choice or control..
  4. Discuss. (See suggested questions below in Assessment Considerations.)
  5. Students complete journal reflection. (See suggested journal reflection prompts below in Assessment Considerations.)

Assessment Considerations

Like Beliefs, this is a baseline activity, early in the unit. Revisit students’ opinions from this activity in future lessons to enhance understanding of past discriminatory government policies and actions towards Japanese Canadians.


  • How did it feel to not know the rules?
  • Talk about what “fair” is. Fair is about being equitable, not necessarily equal or the same.
  • Why is it important to have fair rules?


  • What is it like when I don’t know the rules, but I still have to play the game? What is that like for other people?
  • What is my idea of fairness (now)?
  • Write about a time when you felt you were treated unfairly or someone you know was treated unfairly. Some sentence starters:
    • When I was…
    • It was unfair when…

Extension and Variations