Leadership Lesson: Empire


  • Students will understand the importance of non-verbals.
  • Students will understand the power of working with others.



  • Before beginning this lesson, you may want to watch this video to see how the game is played so you can help facilitate as the students play: Empire (6:08) 

1. Opening:

  • Welcome students to class, introduce yourself and tell them your name.
  • Let them know today they will be playing a game as a class and that for this game you are going to need their undivided attention so have them put their phones away as it will be important to really focus on their classmates.

2. Directions:

  • Tell them today they will be playing a game called “Empire”.
  • They will be playing in groups of 8-10 students. 
  • Give all of the instructions below before having them move. 
  • Have students on a small sheet of paper write down a name of a person, real or fictional, who is living or dead. Tell them to fold this up and not share it with anyone.
  • Tell them in a minute they will be getting into teams of 8-10 and they will need to try and guess who in the classroom wrote down the name of the people on the slips of paper. 
  • Tell them the oldest person in the group will be the facilitator and collect all of the slips and read all of the names on the papers out loud to their circle. They need to try to remember all of these names - that is why it is important to pay attention. If thegroup wishes for the facilitator to read them one more time they may do so, but that is it and the papers need to then be put away.
  • The youngest person gets to start out first. They will ask one student sitting in the circle if they are one of the names on the piece of paper, for example Student A might ask, “Joey are you Abraham Lincoln?”
  • If the person A guesses correctly, then Joey, who wrote down Abraham Lincoln in the above example would now physically walk over and join Person A. 
  • Person A now gets another turn. 
  • If Person A guesses incorrectly, then the person she called out in the circle now goes. In the above example, if Joey was not Abraham Lincoln he would get to guess who someone in the circle was. 
  • If someone guesses correctly and the person they guessed has multiple people in their empire, the entire empire joins the person who guessed correctly.
  • The game ends when there is only one empire left.

3. Activity:

  • Now go around the room and number them off as a one, two or three to form groups. 
  • Designate a spot where all of the ones, twos and threes will go to form their circles. After showing them where their number groups will go, instruct them to move and form a circle.
  • Now that they are in their groups remind them that the oldest person reads all of the names on the card and that the youngest person will get to be the first guesser. 
  • Allow the kids to play 2 rounds of this game and then bring them back for some debriefing questions.
  • Have students return back to their desks.

4. Discussion:

  • How did you find yourself making a decision when guessing who was who?
  • How does this relate to leadership? 
  • What role did the empire play in your gameplay and did it help or hinder? Why or why not? 
  • What role do non-verbals play in this game? 
  • How does being socially aware of non-verbals in yourself and others play a role in leadership?