HOW’S YOUR TREND LINE?
Have you ever seen the graph showing the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the course of its existence (over 100 years!)? How about the NASDQ? These stock exchange graphs provide great examples of a “Trend Line.” If you look at the graphs, you see dozens of peaks and valleys (ups and downs), however, the overall trend over the course of time is upwards. In our own lives, we also experience “ups and downs” and have a personal “trend line.” The hope is, that despite all the ups and downs in our lives, we can have a positive, upward-moving trend line.
Stock market graphs above, markers and paper (or, alternatively, pieces of rope or raccoon circles)
With your group, review what the stock market is (a market in which small, of companies are exchanged. These parts of companies are known as shares. The price of these shares goes up and down. If you buy cheap and sell shares at a higher price, you make money. If you sell your shares at a lower price, you lose money). Show the group the graphs above and discuss how the stock market has had many ups and downs over the course of its existence but the “Trend Line” is positive. You may want to point out some areas when the trend line was flat (1934-1949) or even trending downward (Dow Jones 1965-1982). I am sure, if you lived during those years, it seemed like things would never turn around. But as you back up and take a more long-term look, things ALWAYS got better.
Have your group participants think about their lives. You can have them look at their lives birth to present or choose a certain period of time (i.e. the last five years). Consider all the ups and downs. Have participants draw their own graph/trend line with all its ups and downs. Have participants share their graphs with others.
The Debrief for this activity takes place as participants share their graphs. Note the direction of the trend line. If the trend line is negative or flat, what would help get it moving upwards? Be aware that you may very well get some intense, deep and emotional sharing during this activity. Be prepared. You also may counter resistance as the activity demands a great deal of reflection and sharing. Encourage participants to only share what they are comfortable sharing.
Instead of having students draw their graph, use pieces of rope or raccoon circles (15 foot sections of nylon webbing) to create their graph on the ground.