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Conducting a kindness experiment
May 2, 2024

By DePaul Healthy Trailblazer Journal reporters | Healthy Trailblazer Journal 8A reporters tried an experiment to see what would happen if they looked at another classmate for one minute and drew a picture of what they saw. But, they could not look at the paper while they were drawing. They had a number of reactions:

“I thought that it was funny and awkward,” Emma said. “It made me feel less connected. The results looked way off from the person that you’ve drawn. It could make people smile a little knowing how close they were.”

“I learned that drawing a person’s face without looking was very difficult,” Noah said. “This experiment made me more connected to the person I was drawing. It can build our community by putting students together that don’t normally talk to each other. It can make our school healthy by students interacting with everyone, not just their friends.”

“It is an ice-breaker, and we are building community,” Saniyah said. “It makes everybody feel more connected than before. It makes everyone feel like family.”

“From drawing my partner and just looking at them, I realized how many features they had and how different people looked,” Jamir said. “I feel like this activity didn’t make me feel more connected or disconnected from my person. It can help make our school healthier by bringing more humor to it.”

The idea for the experiment was adapted from an October 2023 article in The New York Times. Wendy MacNaughton, an artist in San Francisco, invited strangers to spend a minute drawing each other. The goal was to find two things the strangers hadn’t first noticed on each other’s faces.

“Participants were stunned by the connection they felt with someone they hadn’t met before, even after 60 seconds,” the artist wrote. “Imagine what would happen in our communities if we slowed down enough to look at one another.”

Illustration by Maria, seventh grade, MaST Community Charter.

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