In Other Worlds: An
Intercultural Space Fantasy
This activity engages up to four individuals or groups in the preparation and discussion of a
cultural report about the people of a fantasy planet, using an environmental profile of the
planet assigned to them. In the activity, participants
• explore and discuss the relationship of environment to culture;
• assess the positive and negative roles of stereotypes in our understanding of our own and
• discuss how and why we behave culturally as we do.
The activity appeals to technologically oriented individuals and many younger people. It
provides them with an opportunity to understand cultural dynamics. It may be used with
either four individuals or four small groups.
75 to 90 minutes
• One copy of Handout 1, “Team Instruction Sheet,” for each participant
• Enough copies of Handouts 2 through 5, the four planetary environmental profiles (one
profile about each of the three planets and one about the space lab) for each individual in
the small groups
• One copy of Handout 6, “Questions for Discussion,” for each participant
1. Form four small groups.
2. Task the activity by distributing the instruction sheet and an environmental report about
one of the three planets or the space lab to each individual in each group. Review the
process on the instruction sheet and answer procedural questions. (10 minutes)
3. Send each individual or group to a breakout space or a corner of the room to discuss and
prepare their report. Tell them to return at an agreed-upon time. (20 minutes)
4. After 20 minutes, call them together to share their cultural reports. If time permits, they
may ask questions of one another. (20 to 30 minutes)
5. Discuss the process in small groups or as a whole as the number of people allows. You
may wish to use the process questions on Handout 6 or create your own. (10 to 15
Call the groups together for a final short debrief if they have done their discussion in small
groups. If no one else does, you might also add the observation that with a lack of specific
information, our imagination easily uses what it already knows to attribute cultural charac-
teristics to other people or groups. (5 to 10 minutes)
Team Instruction Sheet
Your task is to create a cultural profile about the people living on an imaginary planet, on the
basis of how you feel the environment of the planet would affect the development of culture.
Read the General Information below. Then use your imagination to create a cultural report about
your assigned planet, using the environmental profile given to you and the questions found there.
(If you are working as a group and disagree about the planet’s culture, allow for the creation of
subcultures on the planet that embody the fantasies of all group members.)
You will have 20 minutes to do this. Save at least 5 minutes at the end to get ready to
inform the other groups about the culture you “found” on the planet assigned to you. You
may use any form of presentation to do this.
It is the year 14,092. You are a cultural-research team aboard the Starship Kluckhohn. The
Intergalactic Chamber of Commerce has given you the task of visiting and opening up trade with
settlements founded by settlers and refugees from Earth many millennia ago. These settlements
were established with the bare essentials for survival in the early days of space travel 12 millen-
nia ago, but they were cut off and forgotten. There is no accurate data about the people living in
the settlements. However, you do have an accurate description of the environment of the planet
on which they settled.
You believe that both biological and cultural development take place in response to a group’s
need to survive and thrive in a given environment. Your task is to create a working hypothesis of
how you believe each of these settlements has developed. Discuss with your team the planet
assigned to you and create a hypothetical cultural profile, making your best guess about the
answers to the questions raised on the profile sheet. Of course, there is no way to know what to
expect until you arrive there, but you want to go as prepared as you can by using everything you
now know about cultures and their development.