I learned the game "Tree, Ground, Water" from students who taught a session of our English course at Meiji University.
The process is simple: the joker stands in the middle of a circle of people. S/he chooses one person and says, "Tree" (or one of the other elements). The person she chose then has ten seconds to come up with something that lives in a tree. If s/he can't, s/he becomes the new joker.
The game can be made thematic by changing the elements (tree, ground, water) or the association (something that lives there). So, instead of Tree, Ground, Water you could use Economy, Politics, Social Movements, for example. Instead of something that lives there, you could ask for something that belongs to that category, or something you do that belongs to that category.
- I buy food.
- I vote.
You could combine this with the "This is what democracy looks like" activity, the three elements being I know democracy is happening when I see, here, feel.
- I know democracy is happening when I see people voting.
- I know democracy is happening when I feel confused.
- I know democracy is happening when I hear people say things I disagree with.
You could use the Alforja arbol social structure of Economy, Politics, Culture, or the Triangle Tool structure of Institutions, Ideology, Personal Experience.
If you make it a thematic activity, you need to take notes and add a de-briefing session at the end, to call attention to what came up and what it might mean. Why is voting so central to our idea of politics and democracy? Etc.
The game could also be turned a surreal direction, using elements like "Love, Dreams, Telescopes" and asking people to name something they associate with each.
Finally, it can be used as an assessment or goal-setting game, the three elements being, in the case of a language class, reading, writing, speaking.