Tic-Tac-Toe Top Secret




Summary: The blindfolded leader plays tic-tac-toe against a member of the group and wins or draws everytime although never seeing where the opponent places their mark! Everyone then learns this new strategy.

The Simple Set-Up:
You must learn the following simple process before trying to play tic-tac-toe blindfolded.


In order for this system to work, you must be first to play. That won't be too hard of a concession for your opponent to give you since you are willing to play the game blindfolded -- never seeing where he puts his mark!


First try the simple system without the blindfold. Let's say that you have the X's and your opponent has the O's. Begin by having your X put in the center square. Your opponent will then put an O in one of the remaining empty squares. Each time you get ready to put your X, follow these easy steps:

1) If the square is empty to the RIGHT of your opponent's O, have your X put there.
2) If that square is taken and the square is empty to the LEFT of your
opponent's O, have your X put there.
3) If that square is also taken and the square is empty ABOVE your opponent's O, have your X put there.
4) And if that square is also taken, then finally have your X put BELOW your opponent's O.

Each time you get ready to place your X, use the O your opponent just marked and go through your options in the order listed above (RIGHT-LEFT-ABOVE-BELOW. You will never lose! If you opponent makes a judgment error, you might even win!


You'll need to have a blackboard or flip chart in the room so that others can see you play your opponent. Also bring extra paper and pencils so that each person can try the strategy with a partner after your demonstration.


Finally, have a dishtowel with you to serve as a blindfold.




The Activity:


Say: I'm looking for someone who's pretty good at tic-tac-toe. Who'll volunteer? Bring someone to the front to play the game with you.


Say: I'm going to draw a tic-tac-toe game on the chalkboard and begin by putting my X in the middle. However, now I'm going to play the rest of the game blindfolded.


Put on your blindfold and turn your back to the board before continuing the game.


Say: Go ahead and put your O anywhere you want.


Give them time to do that.


Say: Now if there's a space to the RIGHT of your O, put my X there.


If they indicate that there is no space, then proceed through your options in the order of LEFT-ABOVE-BELOW until a space is available and they insert your X.


Say: Go ahead and put your second O anywhere you want.


Give them time to do just that.


Say: Now if there a space to the RIGHT of your O, put my X there.

If they indicate that there is no space, then proceed through your options in the order of LEFT-AVOVE-BELOW until a space is available and they insert your X.


Repeat this pattern until the board is filled and the game has ended in a draw (or you've won).


Say: I'd like to have all of you learn this simple strategy so that you'd never need to lose at tic-tac-toe every again!


Pass out the pencils and paper so that you can teach them the system -- giving them time to practice with a partner.




Use this activity to teach about the following themes:



*God is Developmental (I John 2:12-14)

Ask:

*Did you enjoy learning this system?

*Why do we enjoy learning new things?

*What are the stages of learning God gives us in I John 2:12-14?

*What are the characteristics of each of those stages?

*Why are you glad or sad that God keeps growing us up?



*God is Successful (Luke 10:21,22; Matthew 11:25-27)

Ask:

*Why do we enjoy learning this system?

*Why do we usually enjoy succeeding and hate failing?

*How is Jesus reaction different when He succeeds (Luke 10:21,22)
than when He fails (Matthew 11:25-27)?

*What do His reactions teach you about what He's like?




*God is Demonstrative (Romans 5:8)

Ask:

*Why is learning something from a demonstration usually easier than just learning it from a book?

*What evidence do you have that tells you God believes in demonstrations?

*What does Romans 5:8 add to your understanding of His belief in demonstrating what He means?

Copyright 2000. Dave Arch. All rights reserved.