Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel: Are You a Good Sport?


By John Goldberg & Shoshana Silberman

Here is an experiential activity that allows participants to examine the degree to which they are good sports.


  • To examine the degree to which participants are good sports.
  • To reflect on how participants’ sportsmanship affects them and their relationships with others.
  • To consider changes participants may want to make in their sportsmanship and in their professional or personal lives.

Group Size

Several groups of four people

Time Requirement

30 minutes.


  • One dreidel per participant
  • Instructions for how to play the dreidel game for each participant
  • A set of chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil for each participant
  • Paper and pen for each participant.

Physical Setting

Participants are seated at tables in groups of four per table.

Facilitation Risk Rating



1.  Explain that participants will have the opportunity to play a game that includes winning and losing. Assign four participants per table.

2.  Distribute one dreidel per group and one set of coins, instructions, paper and pen to each participant.

3.  Tell the participants to take four turns spinning the dreidel and to redistribute the coins each time according to how their dreidel falls.

4. Tell participants to write their answers to the following questions:

  • How did you feel when you won?
  • How did you feel when you lost?
  • How did you feel when others won?
  • How did you feel when others lost?

5. Tell participants that being a good or bad sport can be seen as a continuum. Ask the participants for examples from their own experience, in the dreidel game or elsewhere, when they were good sports. Ask the participants to share examples of when they were bad sports. Ask the participants to share examples at other points on the continuum.

6. Ask the participants to discuss at their tables what they learned from the dreidel game and the conversation afterward about their own sportsmanship. Ask them to discuss how being a better sportsperson might help them in their professional and personal lives. Ask them to share how they feel they could become better sports.

7. Repeat step 3.

8. Debrief the activity with the following questions:

  • What differences did you see in yourself between the first round and the second?
  • What did you learn about your sportsmanship?
  • What did you learn about yourself as a person?
  • How might you become a better sport?


  • Real coins can be substituted for chocolate coins. The greater the value of the coins the more invested the participants may become in the outcome of the game.
  • As few as two and as many as six or more people can be seated at the same table if needed.

About the Authors

John Goldberg provides training in leadership, communication, teamwork, and career and personal development. He served for seven years as Manager, Organization Development for a Fortune 500 company. John teaches at the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management. He is active in the California Network of Learning Professionals. John lives in Sacramento with his wife and two children.


John Goldberg, MBA

442 T Street

Sacramento, CA 95818-2122

(916) 444-3353









Dr. Shoshana Silberman has been a teacher, principal and educational consultant. She has led workshops across North America on active learning. She is the author of eight books and has contributed articles to numerous journals. Dr. Silberman has recently retired, but continues to write and teach. She lives in Lawrenceville, NJ.


Shoshana Silberman

172 Copperfield Driive

Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

(973) 707-7278






Dreidel Game Instructions



The dreidel, or top, has four Hebrew letters: nun (which looks a little like the English letter “C” backwards), gimmel (which looks like the letter nun with a heel), heh (which looks a little like a house), and shin (which looks like the English letter “W”).

Each player begins with an equal number of coins. Each player puts several coins into a central pile (the same number from each player).

Each player takes turns spinning the dreidel. When the dreidel stops, the player whose turn it is does the following, depending on which letter is on top:

Nun: do nothing.

Gimmel: take the central pile.

Heh: take half of the central pile.

Shin: put half of the player’s coins into the central pile.

If a player runs out of coins he or she is out of the game.

The player who wins is the one with the most (or all of the) coins when the game ends.