- Identify and express one’s own values
- Reflect on one’s own values
- Reflect on the others’ values
Prepare a table with an auction hammer. Arrange the chairs for the participants in line in front of the table in order to recreate the environment of an auction. For each participant prepare a pen, an auction leaflet and a set of banknotes or candies to play with.
1. Ask participants if they know what an auction is and how it works.
If the answer is yes, ask them to describe it. Otherwise, briefly explain what it is like: during an auction some items are sold to the bidder who offers the highest amount of money. Tell participants that one way to find out how much an object is appreciated is to try and assign it a monetary value. Tell participants that the activity will consist of an auction of values. Hand out the notes, the auction flyer and a pen to the participants. Explain that a series of values will be auctioned and that the participants will have to buy the values considered the most important, making offers that exceed those of the other contenders.
2. Explain to the participants how you will conduct the auction:
- Each participant has a set of banknotes or candies to spend (previously distributed in equal parts).
- Each participant can bet up to a maximum of X for a value. You can bet in amounts of Z or even more. This means you can bet Z or X or Y and so on.
- The participant who makes the highest bid wins the value, and for this he/she gives the corresponding amount in cash to the auctioneer.
- If participants run out of money, they will no longer be able to bid for other values.
- For each value that is sold, participants must note down the amount of the final offer in the first column of the auction flyer. In the second column, instead, the participants must report the amount they would have been willing to spend for that value.
3. Before starting, ask the participants to tick off the values they are interested in purchasing on the flyer. Conduct the auction like an auctioneer, in a lively and fun way. “The first value is: beauty. Offers start at ... “. Use humour to keep the attention of the participants and to get some offers.
4. Continue the auction until all the values have been sold.
After the activity ask the participants to arrange themselves in a circle and begin a discussion using these questions as a starting point:
- Considering the offers, what is the most precious value? Why?
- What is the value that was the least precious? Why?
- To assess the importance of a value, do you think it is better to take into consideration the number of offers that are made or the amount it goes for? Or both? Why?
- Was there a value that you really wanted to buy but didn’t win? How can you make this value part of your life? (Say that winning or losing at the auction is not important. What matters in this moment in life, the values on which offers are made because they show what the participants appreciate and what they aspire to).
- Are you satisfied with your bidding? Does it reflect what you value in life?
- Were there values in the auction that nobody was interested in buying? If so, why?
- How would your parents have bided in this auction? Why?
Before starting the activity decide whether to use fake banknotes or candies, and how much to give to each participant. If the participants are children, it is suggested to use candies (distributing no more than 20 each).If you have enough time, and you think it may be useful for the participants, you can add a "preparatory" phase to the activity which will lead to the identification of the values to be auctioned. These, instead of being decided a priori by the facilitator can be chosen through an activity with the participants. Divide the participants into small groups and ask them to discuss the question: “What makes you happy? List the most important values of your life”. The proposals that emerge in the group (for example, fun, family, friendship, love, creativity) are written on pa-per cards (one value for each card), which will then be used by the auctioneer in the later stages of the game. Participants will receive an empty flyer, on which they will be able to note down the values at the auction. The activity can be adapted for group work. You can divide the participants into pairs or threes and ask them to agree on how much money / many candies to bid.