Penny Auction (ACTIVITY)


Time

15 minutes

 

Description

This activity can be used in two ways.  You can use it for teaching about judging the character of people or about how to do better selection and hiring.

 

For teaching about judging character, use 1 Samuel 16 (the story about David’s anointing).  The lesson will help make the point that what people look like on the outside is an unreliable way to judge the quality of their heart.

 

For teaching about selection and hiring, the lesson helps hiring managers understand that it’s difficult and often unreliable to judge job candidates by their appearance and what they put on their applications.  To make better hires, they will need to use good interviewing techniques and skills to find out what the applicant is really like.

 

Scripture

  • 1 Samuel 16:1-13

 

Materials

  • Pennies (or some other low-denomination currency – 10 per participant)
  • Newspaper
  • Brown wrapping paper (or a grocery sack)
  • Giftwrap (look for different styles with some noticeably nicer than the others)
  • Clear tape
  • Bows and/or ribbons (for 3-4 packages)
  • Gifts (10 of varying quality – some should be things that few would enjoy receiving, e.g. toilet paper rolls.  Others can be nicer, e.g., desk supplies, picture frames, coffee mugs.  You might want to have one or two that are much nicer if you can afford to give them away.)
  • Copy paper – a few sheets
  • Scissors
  • Marker (one – for labeling the gifts)

 

Preparation

  • Wrap all ten gifts.  Most of the nicer gifts should be wrapped in either the newspaper or the brown wrapping paper.  The less nice gifts should be wrapped to make them look really nice, with ribbons and bows.  Wrap one or two nice gifts nicely, just so you aren’t too predictable.  Make sure that it isn’t obvious what is inside by the shape of the package.
  • Set all the gifts up on a table at the front of the room, and put a small sign in front of each one that labels the gift “A, B, C, D, etc…”  (Each gift should be labeled with one letter.)
  • Distribute ten pennies (or other currency) to each participant.

 

Procedure

Use this script, or modify to suit your needs:

  • “We are going to have an auction!”
  • “With the pennies that I have given you, you can bid on any of these ten gifts up at the front.”
  • “You can use all your pennies to purchase one of the gifts, or you can split your pennies and use them to buy two or more gifts.  It’s up to you how you would like to strategize.”
  • “You can keep whatever is in the gift.”
  • “As with other auctions, I will set a starting bid.”
  • “If you want the gift at that price, you can raise your hand to indicate that you want to bid on it.”
  • “Someone else in the group may be willing to pay more, though.”
  • “After you bid, I will ask if anyone wants to bid a penny higher than your bid.”
  • “If someone else raises their hand and bids a penny higher, then that person gets control unless you choose to bid higher than them.”
  • “The person with the highest bid when I say, ‘SOLD,’ is the winner.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions?” (Answer any questions.)
  • “Let’s begin!”  (Have them bid on one of the gifts.  It doesn’t matter what order you do it in, but you might want to mix nice looking gifts with less nice looking ones.  If bidding slows on a gift, say, “Going once…Going twice….SOLD!” and indicate the person who bought the gift.  Collect their pennies from them, and let them take their gift.  It’s okay for them to open it up right then.  It will start to make the point that the wrapping is an unreliable indicator of what’s inside.  When all the gifts are purchased or all the pennies are gone, open all the gifts (even the ones that didn’t get bid on), and ask the following debrief questions.)

 

Debrief

  • How reliable was it to judge the quality of the gift by its wrapping?
  • How does this apply to our relationships with people?
  • What would be a better way to judge the quality of the person?
  • How does the Bible say God does it?  (Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13)
  • So, what should we do?

 

Debrief (for using this for Selection and Hiring)

  • How reliable was it to judge the quality of the gift by its wrapping?
  • How does this apply to selection and hiring?
  • What would be better ways to judge the quality of the person?  (Answers could include: behavioral interviewing, testing, immersion, trial run, probationary period, references, etc.)
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Filed under Character, David, heart, Hiring, Interviewing, Judgment, Samuel

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