As the “dot” numbering gets deep into the 1900s, the number of the dot has started to remind me of significant events that occurred during those years – which reminds me of a favorite icebreaker in a similar vein.
The facilitator writes different years on strips of paper and tosses them into a basket. Years should be from last year back through the approximate age range of participants, with one year written separately on each strip.
Participants then draw a year out of the basket and share a story with the group of what they were doing during that year or what memory the year stimulates. There will likely be a lot of mental calculating involved as people try to recall how old they were or what they were doing during that year, but it just adds to the fun. I have also heard of people doing the same activity using pennies with different years (if you have the fortitude to assemble such a variety!).
An adaptation of this is to assign each person (or allow people to draw) a year in advance of a gathering and ask people to research what was happening within the organization during that period. It’s a quick way to infuse some stories of the organization and provide context for how things have evolved. You can do several assignments before a group event or have one per meeting over a period of time.
Or you can even play along at home for the next few months and think of what each dot number represents as a year in your world!