Explore the meanings of empathy with this set of photo cards. Each card has a photo on the front, a picture of an adult in an everyday situation. On the back are brief stories about that person’s challenges and struggles. There are 40 cards in each set with a balance of men and women, a range of ages, and a mixture of ethnicities.
The cards can be used in a variety of ways. For instance, you can ask participants to look at the cards and identify the people for whom they have empathy. Then ask them reflect on why some images or stories elicit this warmth and others don’t affect them. The cards can also be used to explore preconceptions, race/age/sex/classism, trust, and/or decision-making. You could even use them as a prompt for writing assignments, for example to write a letter from that person’s perspective.
Like any activity or manipulative, the cards are merely an entry-point for discussion and debriefing. While you can do many of the same activities with cut-outs from magazines, these cards raise the level of communication because they seem “real,” and look professional.