MUN Activities And Classroom Exercises

MUN club activities are an important part of maintaining a Model United Nations team while establishing a positive club atmosphere. MUN activities help develop the skills Model United Nations teaches and work well alongside MUN theory lectures and simulations. Our list of MUN games and classroom activities can be used throughout the year; from MUN icebreakers during the first session, to advanced drills for third and fourth-year MUN club veterans. Model United Nations games can also serve as a welcoming introduction, in contrast to the conventional MUN simulations and lectures throughout the academic year.

The following Model United Nations activities describe the level of the activity, requirements, resources, and approximate time for a group of 20 students. There is no rule saying only beginners need to play beginner games, a new motivated student can enjoy the advanced games, even if they don’t have the experience yet. Feel free to modulate between the types of activities and levels of difficulty to find the right fit for your MUN group.

Let the games begin!

MUN Icebreakers

Introduce Your Fellow Delegate

Level: Beginner

Resources: None

Time: 30 Minutes

Goal: Getting over the fear of the unknown people in the room 

Get the student to know each other and listen to others. MUN is not all about the rules and knowing the countries a big part of it is working together. At the end of the day, each student has its own Agenda and we need to all work together and make friends (this is the best way to get good at MUN) not only the academics but also improving your people skills. 

Steps on how How to Run: 

This activity can be done whether students are representing countries or themselves.

Tip: This can also be done having the students representing  as a delegate of a country

Step 1: Divide the students into pairs. (Student 1/Student 2)
Make sure each pair is sitting/standing together. 

Step 2:  Have Student 1 get to know Student 2 for 1 Minute

This will give the opportunity for Student 1 to get to know student 2 

Step 3:  Reverse the roles now have Student 2 get to know Student 1 for 1 Minute

This will give the opportunity for Student 2 to ask Student 1 anything they want in order to better know Student 1

Step 4:  Introduce their partners – Have Student 1 Introduce Student 2 then have Student 2  Introduce Student 1. 

Limit the intro time to 30 seconds

NOTES FOR FACILITATOR

Ask students if what sort of questions they asked,… (check if open-ended or closed questions.. 

Optional: You can give another minute to each pair in which each participant who listened during for the first minute should ask questions They can come up with their own questions or you can give them questions. A good source for icebreaker questions can be found in this list, though we suggest you choose a few in advance instead of giving them the entire list. After this second minute, the same circle is created and each student introduces their pair.

Introduce Your Fellow Delegate: Cinderella’s Slipper Version

Level: Beginner

Resources: None

Time: 30 Minutes

Goal: Getting over the fear of the the unknown people in the room 

Summary:

This is played the same way as ‘Introduce Your Fellow Delegate’ with one key difference;

Before starting, have each participant put one of their shoes in the middle of the circle. Once everyone is missing a shoe redistribute the shoes so each participant is holding a shoe that is not theirs.

Alternative: Give the participants 30 seconds to quickly grab a shoe that is not theirs.

Once everyone has a shoe they need to find the owner of that shoe and pair up. After this continue with ‘Introduce Your Fellow Delegate’ as written above.

Logo Love

Level: Beginner

Resources: White paper or white labels, pens or markers

Goal:

Time: 30 Minutes

Summary:

This icebreaker can be done with the students representing countries or themselves.

Step 1: Hand out the paper/labels and pens/markers.

Step 2: Give participants 10-15 minutes to come up with a concept and create a logo for themselves, or for the country that they are representing.

Step 3: Have the participants present their logo and share why they chose to draw them the way that they did. They can present to the entire group or only to those sitting close to them. eir neighbors.

Optional: Give some time to other participants to guess what the logo represents and try to figure out why the presenter chose to create it that way before the presenter introduces his/her logo to everyone.

Alternative: Participants can choose existing logos to represent themselves or their country. This version offers much less creativity and expression but might be better if there is not enough time for the standard version.

Country Knowledge Icebreaker

Level: Beginner

Resources: Slide projector, slides with questions, flags

Goal:

Time: 30 Minutes

Summary:

Have a set of slides with flags of countries ready.

Optional: You can also use pictures of political leaders or locations.

Step 1: Show the images to the group one by one. Have participants call out what they know about the countries. A few minutes are usually needed for the participants to warm up, therefore we suggest to start with slides of countries and/or people that everyone knows.

Optional: Instead of being completely open, you can ask the participants about: Population size, year of independence, language/s, important contributions, famous figures in specific fields, etc.

Note: This icebreaker can also be used as a research game if you have the students do prior research on what will be projected on the slides.

MUN Research Activities

Atlas Challenge

Level: Beginner

Resources: 3 or more atlases, ideally all the same version

Time: 15 Minutes

Goal:

Summary:

Most students are so used to having technology look everything up for them, that they have never used an atlas, and almost certainly do not know how to use longitude and latitude coordinates. While this game is not specific to the UN, it will help get students looking at the world as a whole and have them work together to do so.

Before playing, you will need to go through the atlas and come up with at least ten questions. The questions can be obscure facts that you find throughout the atlas, or obvious ‘freebee’ questions to make the students feel comfortable. The point of this game is for the students to learn to use the whole atlas: table of contents, index, and content pages. 

Sample questions:

  • What is the fifth-longest river in the world?
  • What is the tallest mountain in Africa?
  • What is the longitude and latitude of Rabat, Morocco?
  • What type of forest covers most of the state of Montana?

The questions you come up with should be researchable be from anywhere in the atlas. Make about 10 questions for each Atlas Challenge. 

Step 1: Separate the students into groups of four or five. We suggest each instructor assign the groups to avoid the stronger students sticking together. 

Step 2: Hand out the atlases.

Step 3: Set a timer and begin.

The fun part of this game is the time factor. Give the participants no more than twelve to fifteen minutes to complete the challenge. Most won’t finish, but the team to get the most correct answers wins.

This game is so simple yet helps the students get used to working together while under pressure. You can play this game periodically throughout the year, and use more difficult questions as the year unfolds and the students’ skills develop. 

Orientation 180

Level: Beginner +

Resources: Internet access (cell phones or computers), something to write on, pen

Time: 25 Minutes

Goal:

Summary:

Step 1: Divide the students into five groups and assign each group a country. Each country should be from a different continent or have very different sizes and government types.

For example: Australia, Belarus, China, France, Venezuela

Note: In a mixed group of with beginners and more advanced students, you should give the advanced students the countries which are less known. You can also challenge the intermediate students to find more information about the same five countries.

Step 2: Tell the groups that the challenge is to learn the basic information about their country in 3 minutes (180 seconds)..

You can use the Orientation 180 image below which shows the 5 things they need to research.

Note: In a mixed group of beginners and more advanced students, you should can give the advanced students the countries which are less known. 

Optional: Challenge the intermediate students to find more information about the same five countries.

Optional: This activity compliments MUN Research.

Once the students understand the five things they need to find, answer any clarification questions they might have.

After all, questions have been answered, give the students 180 seconds to find as much as they can.

Give more time if you feel it will be beneficial.

When the three minutes are up, go through the countries one by one. Readout each category and have the participants yell out their answers.

Optional: You can ask the participants to justify how they reached their conclusions about the political structure and neighbor relations.

Getting to Know YOUR Country

Level: Beginner +, ideal to use after you get your country assignments

Resources: Computers and Internet

Time: 30 Minutes

Goal:

Summary:

This is run the same as Orientation 180, except that each participant researches the country they will be representing at an upcoming conference. After they answer the basic five questions, direct them to learn about the other components involved in MUN research, such as topic-specific data, recent history, interests. More about MUN country research can be found in our article on MUN research.

5 Crazy Things

Level: Beginner +

Resources: Internet access (cell phones or computers), something to write on, pens

Time: 25 Minutes

Goal:

Summary:

This game is also similar to Orientation 180, except in this version the goal is for students to find the craziest facts they can about their countries. Give them an allotted time to find the facts. When research time is over have the participants share the facts with everyone.

This drill usually deviates from regular MUN research because what they are looking for is usually not useful during a MUN committee (but you never know). 

Alternative: If you have a smaller group or more time, you can give each player participate in finding crazy facts about a different country.

MUN Country Knowledge Activities

MUN Speed Dating

Level: Beginner

Resources: List of 10 MUN questions

Time: 20 – 30 Minutes

Goal:

Summary:

Arrange the chairs into two circles, a smaller one in the middle with a larger circle around it. Make sure that both circles have the same number of chairs. The chairs in the outer circle should be more spread out. 

Like with regular speed dating, participants sit across from each other and have an allotted amount of time to answer each question.

During each round students should use their smartphones to find the answers to the questions.

Some sample questions: 

  • Who is the leader of your country?
  • What is your main export?
  • Which country/countries do you share borders with?
  • Who are your closest allies?
  • Do you give or receive aid? If so, to whom and what type of aid?

At the end of each 30 second round play a cymbal, ring a gong, sound the church bells, yell or have a timer go off to let the inner circle know they need to quickly get to the chair on their right hand side, while the outer circle should remain put. 

Before the game begins explain the rules clearly. At the beginning of each round ask the question out loud and start the timer. 

This game is a great way for students to get to know each other, like in real speed dating, and learn more about their country. 

After all 10 rounds have been played have students share what new information they learned about their country.

True False Run (AKA My Country Is…)

Level: Beginner

Resources: List of facts which can be true about multiple countries 

Time: 15 – 25 minutes

Goal:

Summary:

Step 1: Assign a different country to each participant.

Step 2: Have all participants stand in the center of the room.

Step 3: Assign one wall as ‘true’ and the opposite wall as ‘false’.

Step 4: Read a statement, and then shout “run!” Upon doing so the participants should run to whichever wall (true or false) they think is the correct answer. Whoever reaches the correct wall first wins. Participants who don’t know the answer can either guess or remain in the center. 

Optional: Allow participants who don’t know the answer(s) to use their smartphones to find the answer. 

Example Statements:

  • My country has a population of over 8 million people
  • My country provides free education
  • My country provides free healthcare
  • My country holds democratic elections
  • My country is known to experience earthquakes every 5 years
  • My country has won the Eurovision Song Contest

Press Conference

Level: Intermediate

Resources: 1-2 current events per country

Time: 7 minutes per participant

Goal:

Summary:

Step 1: Assign a country to each student.

You can also give them countries at the end of the previous club meeting to prepare for this exercise.

Optional: Assign the countries to students a few days, or a club meeting, in advance so that the participants can prepare in advance. This can be played once for all participants or a few at the beginning of each club practice.

Step 2: Tell the students to bring 1-2 current events that involve their countries. Kick off the practice by having each participant present their current events. They should present for up to three minutes and then answer questions for another four minutes or so. 

Step 3: Encourage those who are not presenting to ask questions about the current events being presented that week. Encourage both questions about the facts (who, what, where, when, why, how, how many, how much, etc.) and questions that invite critical thinking, like, “what do you think should be done about this problem?”

Model UN Scavenger Hunt

Level: Beginner

Resources: Computers and internet, MUN Scavenger Hunt page

Time: 30 minutes

Goal:

Summary:

MUN Speech Writing Activities

Clash In A bag

Level: Beginner

Resources: Paper, pens, bag or Hat 

Time: 25 – 35 minutes

Goal: Understanding and practicing the concept of Clash

Summary: Participants will write on clash and off clash statements on pieces of paper. Together, the class will figure out which statements are on clash and which are not.

Step 1:
Explain what a clash is. I clash is a statement that people do not agree on.

Statement – To claim something as true or make a point.

Clash:

  • On-clash statement  – Some people will disagree
  • Off-clash statement – No one will disagree
    *Learn more about Clash Here – MUN Speech Writing.*

Examples of on-clash statements:

  • Pizza should never have mushrooms
  • We shouldn’t do homework anymore
  • The economy of Ireland is self-sustaining

Examples of off-clash statements:

  • Drinking water is important
  • The people trapped under the earthquake are in danger

Step 2:

Give out pens and paper and have the students write two statements on one piece of paper. 

One statement should be on clash and one statement should be off the clash.

Step 3:

Place the papers into the bag.  Mix the papers. Give one paper to each student. 

Step 4:

Have each student read each statement out loud to the group. After each statement is read the group should yell out if it is on or off the clash.

Note: When playing Clash in a Bag you will get three types of sentences written by the students: Clash, off clash and facts.

Clash and off-clash will be statements, have a moral context. Facts will be “A table covered in coffee mugs,” or “It rained a lot this December.” You might need to clarify to the students that facts can’t be clash or off-clash because facts aren’t statements and therefore don’t commit to anything. You can use the distinction between clash, off clash and fact to show facts are as unhelpful as saying off-clash statements.

Your Facts Are Numbered

Level: Beginner

Resources: List of 2-4 statements

Goal: Summary:

Time: 20 – 40 Minutes

Step 1: Divide the class into three groups. Have each group find facts in the form of numbers to support general statements that you will present.

Examples of statements:

  • -We should stop factory farming.
  • -We should make school days shorter.
  • We should build an Amazon headquarters in our town.

Students can use their smartphones to find real-time data. You can give from five to fifteen minutes of time to find data, or improve upon the data they found. After they are done, have some of them read the statements with the data/numbers the found to support the statement.

How Much Does Your Policy Cost?

 

Level: Beginner

Resources: List of statements

Goal: Summary:

Time: 40 minutes

Step 1: Give the students a MUN simulation. 

Ideally, the situation should be from recent news event so that they can find facts about it easily.

Examples:

Step 2: Have the students come up with a Call to Action / practical policy. Details on MUN Call to Action can be found in our article on MUN speechwriting. Once they have a practical policy, have participants come of up a final price for how much their Call to Action will cost. Have them break down to you how they got to that number.

Optional: During the policy review you can add an extra section in which students brainstorm to help each other come up with more effective ways to do their chosen Call to Action.

MUN Speaking and Delivery Activities

So, What do you want to talk about?

Level: Beginner

Resources: Paper, pens, a stopwatch 

Goal: Summary:

Time: 15-25 minutes

This is an excellent game to teach procedure while practicing speeches. 

Before playing, set up the chairs in the room in a U-shape, or another Model UN friendly setting. Try your best to make sure that the participants can see each other. 

Step 1: Have participants write their names on the pieces of paper and fold them over, like MUN placards.

Once everyone has a placard, you ask them what issue they want to speak about. It is important that the issue chosen is one the participants know well, have strong feelings about, and do not need to research. Sometimes a bit of coaxing is needed.

Once a topic is offered, you ask how long they want it to be. 

Step 2: Choosing a speaker time – Ask for individual speaker time. Once you have a few time options offered, ask if there are any seconds. Anyone can raise their hand and say “second” to count as a second. You only need one second. If there are seconds ask for objections. Anyone can raise their hand and say “objection” to count as an objection. Seeing at least one of each you table the topic and ask for another. Do this same step until you have four or five.

Step 3: You instruct the participants that now everyone has to vote. Each of the topics offered in Step 2 should be put to vote. Everyone has to vote. Continue to vote until one has a majority. A tie in votes means revote. A second tie is considered a fail. If all time proposals fail to go back to Step 2.

Step 4: Once a time is chosen you run the discussion like a moderated caucus (how a moderated caucus works can be seen in MUN Rules of Procedure). The participant who offered the topic which was voted on starts. participants speak in turn until their individual speaker times runs out. The discussion ends when the time you allotted in the beginning elapses. You can decide when the topic has elapsed.

Step 5: Once the time elapses, the participants can move for an extension or move on to a new topic.

 

This practice of speech and procedure can be fun and engaging for a long time, depending on the audience. If it is going well, you can continue the game beyond the regular time until you feel that it has run its course.

Once More, With Feeling

Level: Beginner

Resources: Printed MUN speeches, pens / markers to write delivery cues

Goal: Using MUN delivery cues to improve MUN speech delivery

Time: 50 minutes

Summary:

The students should bring the speeches they will use, or have used, for an actual MUN conference. Ideally, the speeches should all be the same length (all 45, 60 or 90 seconds) and have strong content. Tips on how to write great speeches can be found in how to write a great speech article

Step 1: Sit the students in a circle and have them read speeches out loud. Encourage them to read as naturally as possible

Step 2: Introduce the students to MUN delivery cues. The cues are intuitive so not a lot of time is needed for this step. Once introduced, give them 10-20 minutes to add the cues to their speeches. 

Optional: Give them a minimum number of delivery cues they must use.

Step 3: Once they’ve added the cues, have them return to the circle and read their speeches again. 

MUN Resolution Writing Activities

Resolution Challenge

Level: Difficult, play when nearing conference

Resources: Access to the United Nations resolution page: Click Here

Goal: Summary:

Time: 1 Hour

As you can see in our How to Write a Resolution article, writing a resolution is an essential Model UN skill, and it can also be an art. In order to learn how to write well, students need hands-on experience. During the conference, the delegations that come up with high quality and relevant resolutions the fastest, are usually the ones who lead the way and win awards. 

This activity is designed to challenge your students to write quality resolutions. Go to the website and find a few resolutions to use. Try to pick an issue that is well known. Make sure the resolution you choose has practical policies with real-world implementation and doesn’t simply declare the continuation of a policy detailed in a different resolution. Some good examples are resolutions about climate change, terrorism, refugees, and trade disputes. 

Go over the issue with the group, but not the actual resolution. A good review of the issue can usually be found in qualitative news sites like The Atlantic, or The Economist

Separate the students into groups of four or five. Have them write out the perambulatory and operative parts of their own resolution to the given problem. You will be in charge of judging the resolutions. Depending on where you guided them in the discussion, you can judge how close they got to the actual UN resolution on the issue. Once done, give the students a copy of the actual resolution and go over areas where all teams could improve.

MUN Procedure Games

MUN Points and Motions Game

Level: Difficult

Resources: Points and motions handout

Goal:

Time: 1 Hour 

Summary:

Have participants sit in a formation where they can see each other. Choose a topic that they all know enough about to discuss without needing to do research. This topic can pertain to day to day life.

The participants can discuss whatever they want as long as they use the MUN Rules of Procedure to move the debate along.

Note: If you choose a comparative topic, a common mistake is to choose two things that are very similar, like apples vs. oranges. If you want to compare two things use things that are opposing, like air conditioning vs. sitting in the sun.

MUN Mock Debate

Level: Beginner

Resources: Knowledge of the MUN RoP. Placards, papers, pens.

Goal:

Time: 1 – 2 Hours

Summary:

This drill is an expedited MUN simulation. As opposed to the Points and Motions game, MUN Mock Debate goes through the entire procedure. You should aim to do each of the steps outlined below.

Note: If you choose a comparative topic, a common mistake is to choose two things that are very similar, like apples vs. oranges. If you want to compare two things use things that are opposing, like air conditioning vs. sitting in the sun.

All Around MUN Skill Mixers

MUN Flash Debate

Level: Intermediate +

Resources: Hot international topics, one page brief on a topic

Goal: Enhance public speaking skills

Time: 15 minutes +

Make this game a surprise. Have the desks separated before they arrive and pair students up? Tell them which committee they are representing that day (Security Council, UNESCO, General Assembly, etc). Assign each group a country to temporarily represent.

The topic should be one the students have some knowledge of. If you choose to give them a topic they do not have knowledge of, give them a brief of up to one page and an additional 15 minute of time to read and prepare.

Let the students know what the topic of debate will be. You will act as chair of the committee and will open the floor for debate. Try to use proper points and procedures, which will improve throughout the year. Let each debate go on for a maximum of fifteen minutes. Do not let them start writing clauses or motioning for unmoderated caucuses, because this is just a warm-up activity to get students comfortable with public speaking and speaking procedure.

You can use this activity periodically throughout the school year. 

Mini Caucus Game

Level: Intermediate. Best to play shortly before a conference

Resources: Any topic up for discussion, possibly one of the Flash Debate topics

Goal:

Time: 30 minutes. If played with Flash Debate, add an extra half an hour

Summary:

During the conference, much of the give and take negotiation will be done in caucuses outside of regular committee debate. For this simulation, use a similar method to the one described in the Flash Debate game. Each group of two will become a country. Give a hot topic issue for them to debate. Use proper points and motions to set it up. Lets the students are given an opening statement and possibly one other follow up speech before breaking them into an unmoderated caucus to hammer out a solution.

This solution does not need to be written in resolution style detail but should be clear and actionable. If the student did not give clear positions, after the opening speeches, you can assign positions to them before letting them lobby. Let the students break into groups all over the classroom until they come up with a solution. The goal of this game is to negotiate and compromise. In the end, representatives should present their conclusions and explain how they got there.

The Right of Reply Game

Level: Intermediate +

Resources: Computers / smartphones

Goal: To learn how to predict insults and quickly respond to them

Time: 45 Minutes. 15 to prepare and 30 to play

Summary:

The goal of this game is to teach students how to strategically mention other countries by name and develop response skills when insulted or called out. The Right of Reply is usually used to respond to incorrect information or insulting language. Strategic use of the Right of Reply throughout a Model UN simulation is often done by expert delegates and helps the rapid response skills of students who are practicing.

Assign different countries to each participant. You should give them a hot topic in which no country has a perfect record. 

Examples:

  • Human trafficking
  • Trading with unethical states
  • Reducing suicide

Preferably, this topic should be on countries fail at, such as environmental protection or treatment of prisoners. The students should take the research time to prepare speeches that defend their actions and also insult at least one other country in the room. The students can sit in a circle or go in alphabetical order. In any case, it is very important for each student to know who, or which country, they are insulting and who is insulting them.

During the preparation time, the students should try to predict where they will be insulted and plan for the first half of their speech to defend against the previous speaker’s claim(s). The second half should be used to set up and insult the next country on the list. Once everyone is ready, the first country should start and kick off the Right of Reply game. 

How to facilitate

Step 1: Sit everyone in a circle.

Step 2: Allow the first country to deliver their speech on the topic.

After an opening about the topic the, the speaker needs to insult the country which is scheduled to speak and then sit down

Step 3: Allow the nex delegate to be. They must start by saying, “Right of reply.”

Step 4: The facilitator or chair asks “Right of Reply on what grounds?” If you are the facilitator ask this, if a student is taking on this role make sure to tell them to do this before the game begins.

Step 5: Have the delegate quote or paraphrase why they were insulted.

Step 6: The chair accepts but can comment if they feel the Right of Reply is not strong enough. This serves as constructive criticism which can be very helpful when preparing for a real conference.

Step 7: The delegate gets up, replies to the insult and continues on to insult the next country in the circle.

This is repeated until everyone in the circle has had a chance to speak. 

This game teaches students to respond to personal attacks, and insults in speeches and to do the same. This game usually involves a lot of laughter and the students should be reminded to not be too rude, as that would not be accepted in a real conference. The Right of Reply game is effective in making students comfortable with how countries cross-examine each other and helps the students shift from a state of mind of stiffly speaking to masses, to having a comfortable conversation with individuals. 

Conclusion

Model United Nations activities for students are both fun and educational. They help develop skills that might not get enough focus during a mock MUN simulation or during a MUN conference. Fun MUN games also provide a platform to use the same skills developed by Model UN in looser, and more dynamic ways. The key to maximizing MUN club activities is to use the right drill at the right time to develop pinpointed skills. They are also a good way to keep Model UN from becoming too serious.

We are always open to improving our list of MUN games and drills so if you have any good Model UN club activities that you use, send them to us and we will add them to our list!