I am unable to take credit for this warm-up activity; however, it is a great one to perform in the classroom (modified to suit the age of course). This idea has been circulating the internet for some time and would be an AMAZING introductory activity for the lesson plan, “How Full Is YOUR Bucket?” Please find this activity afterwards in the LESSON PLAN section of the site.
Put The Big Rocks In First:
The Mayo Jar
The Mason Jar
Just when you think life is tough.
This chain comes in a few different versions, one involving beer, another, coffee, one with a mayo jar, one with a mason jar.
Chain1: When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.
Chain1: A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.
Chain1: When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
Chain2: A time management expert stood in front of the group of high-powered achievers. He said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.
Chain1: He then asked the students if the jar was full.
Chain2: When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”
Chain1: They agreed that it was.
Chain2: Everyone in the class said, “Yes.”
Chain2: “Really ?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to fill in around the big rocks.
Chain1: The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
Chain1: The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
Chain1: He then asked the students again if the jar was full.
Chain2: Then he asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?”
Chain1: They agreed that it was.
Chain2: By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered.
Chain2: “Good!” he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand.
Chain2: He started dumping the sand in, and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Now is the jar full?”
Chain1: The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Chain1: Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
The students responded with a unanimous
Chain 2: “No!” the class shouted.
Chain2: Once again he said, “Good!”
Chain1: The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table
Chain1: And poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.
Chain1: The students laughed.
Chain2: Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”
Chain2: One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it.”
Chain2: “Maybe that’s true,” the speaker replied, “but that’s not my point.”
Chain2: “What I want you to see is this: If you don’t put your big rocks in first, you won’t get them in at all.”
Chain2: What are the “big rocks” in your life? Family? Health? Friends? Volunteer time?
Chain2: I bet it’s not reading home fashion magazines for two hours a day,
Chain2: searching endlessly on YouTube for something that makes you laugh,
Chain2: or hitting the “refresh” button on your Facebook page 6 or 7 times an hour.
Chain2: Yet somehow we find ourselves sucked in by the little things – the gravel
Chain2: (or worse, the water)
Chain2: – while the big rocks
Chain2: sit outside the jar neglected.
Chain2: Ask yourself, “What are my big rocks?” and remember to put them first, or they won’t get in at all.
Chain1: ‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.
Chain1: The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
Chain1: The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car.
Chain1: The sand is everything else—the small stuff.
Chain1: ‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
Chain1: The same goes for life.
Chain1: If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Chain1: Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.’
Chain1: One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.
Chain1: The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’
Chain1: The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.
(No reference to beer for younger students of course!)