When your students arrive, show the following video to them and ask them to share their thoughts about it [1:36]:
Mesmerizing Mass Sheep Herding
Sheep and other animals often travel in herds, or groups. What we just watched was a good example of what is called “herd mentality.” Herd mentality is when people act the way you saw the sheep acting. They are influenced by others so much that they behave the same way as those they are with even when they do not understand why the group is acting a certain way.
Show the following video [3:42]:
Social experiment – most people are sheep
- What similarities did you see between the two videos? (Although some of the sheep had dogs nipping at their feet, the majority of the sheep had no idea why they were doing what they were doing, they were just following the pack. The woman and later the waiting room full of people all did the same thing.)
- The woman said, “Everybody was doing it, so I thought I was supposed to,” and “when I saw everybody stand up, I felt like I needed to join them.” When have you done or said something because everybody was doing it? (Answers will vary but may include: following trends in clothes, music, or food; doing positive things like joining an after-school club or team; unkind behaviors such as teasing a peer or carrying on when there is a substitute teacher, etc.)
- The woman felt “much more comfortable” when she stood at the tone even though she had no idea why she was standing. Why did she feel more comfortable doing what the others were doing? (Answers will vary; she did not feel left out; she did not stand out as being different; she felt like she was part of the group; she felt like she was doing the right thing because everyone else was doing it, etc.)
- Even the man who seemed determined not to join in eventually stood. Perhaps he felt odd for being different. How does a person keep from giving in to that kind of pressure? (Answers will vary.)
Standing at the sound of a tone in the video was harmless, but it says a lot about the way people respond to peer pressure. We want to belong or fit in with others. We may end up
following others without stopping to think that we have a choice. We may follow even when what the others are doing is not what we should or want to do.
- When have you felt pressured to follow the crowd or follow just a few friends? (Answers will vary.)
- What is your biggest fear about what might happen if you do not go along with the group? (Answers will vary; rejection, ridicule, loneliness, isolation, teasing, bullying, etc.)
Moses, Caleb, and Joshua went against the group and stood up for God’s plan when others were too afraid to trust God. Let’s see how they managed to say “no” to peer pressure and “yes” to choosing to serve God.