Goals of the exercise: to get to know each other, which is also well suited for groups who already know each other and want to continue working together/ self-reflection to know each other, self-reflection on migration and (own) origin
Age of the participants: 13+
Number of participants: 4-30
Duration of the exercise: 40-60 minutes
Materials: pens, paper (if possible DIN A3), questionnaire (s.u.)

Step by step

  1. All participants are asked to draw a tree on a large sheet of paper. The tree top symbolizes their own life and experiences, the trunk their parents’, and the roots their grandparents or ancestors.
  2. The facilitators ask a series of questions.
  3. The participants should answer these questions, placing the answers in the treetop.
  4. Then, they should try to trace the answers “down to the roots”. For example: my eyes are brown, just as my mother’s and my grandmother’s.
  5. After everyone is done, the participants present their posters.

Possible questions:

  • I am the …
  • I call myself …
  • I am born …
  • My strengths are …
  • Languages that I can …
  • My values are …
  • I live with … together.
  • My goals …
  • The most important person for me is …
  • My personal motto is …
  • That gives me strength …


Findings from the exercise can be taken up again in the working with the class/work with the group, e.g. when it comes to group affiliations, self-attributions and foreign attributions, prejudices as well as constructions of “people”, “nation” or other identities.

The method encourages participants to talk about themselves. The proposed questions are formulated in such a way that they do not query identity or categorizing concepts (migration background, girls, boys …), but rather offer the possibilities to describe realities in life. The point is to discuss personal attributes, not to find new groups to assign people to. (e.g. “I have brown hair”, not “I am a member of a group of brown haired people”). It’s possible for a person to have multiple attributes, without creating groups along these attributes.


  • Where did you get your values from?
  • How did your parents/grandparents influence you?
  • Can your strengths help you reach your goals?
  • Does your family have a motto?
  • Is your most important person also a role model for you, to what extent?
  • Which field / Which question did you miss?

Authorship/adaptation or source: http://portal-intersektionalitaet.de/forum-praxis/methodenpool/gute-nachbarschaft/2012/her-history/

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