Teaching Students About the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon


The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a popular trivia game that demonstrates the concept of “six degrees of separation,” which suggests that any two people on Earth are at most six connection steps away from each other. The game challenges players to connect various actors to Kevin Bacon through a series of related films and co-stars. Teaching students about the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon can be a fun way to introduce the idea of connectedness in our global society while also providing a hands-on activity for students to engage in critical thinking and problem-solving.

Explaining the Concept

Before introducing the game, provide students with a brief background on the concept of six degrees of separation. It’s important to clarify that the idea is not exclusively linked to Kevin Bacon or the film industry; it generally refers to social connections between people. The game uses Kevin Bacon as a reference point due to his extensive and varied acting career, making it easy for players to find connections in various movie scenarios. Discuss how knowing this interconnectedness could positively impact global empathy and friendship.

Connecting it to Real Life

To make the exercise more meaningful, help students think about their own lives’ interconnectedness by drawing parallels between their families, friends, neighbors, schoolmates, etc. In addition, discuss real-life examples of how seemingly distant individuals have unexpectedly close connections.

Setting Up the Activity

1. Create groups: Divide your students into small groups or pairs so they can collaborate and learn from each other.

2. Provide actors list: Give each group a list of actors (including less known or international actors) and ask them to connect them to Kevin Bacon using as few connections as possible.

3. Use resources: Encourage students to use resources such as IMDb.com for research on filmography and co-stars.

4. Collaboration and discussion: Allow time for student collaboration, brainstorming, and trial and error. Periodically bring the entire class together to discuss different connection paths they’ve found.

5. Time limit: Introduce a time limit to make the game more challenging, and encourage students to think more quickly and efficiently.

6. Reflect on the process: After the game, have a group discussion in which students talk about their experiences, challenges they faced, intriguing connections they found, and what they learned about the six degrees of separation concept.

Additional Applications

Beyond the fun trivia aspect, teaching students the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon can help develop critical thinking, research skills, and cooperation. Furthermore, educators can explore cross-curricular applications by connecting the activity to various subjects such as:

– Geography – examining global interconnectedness.

– Social Studies – exploring networks in social and political arenas.

– Mathematics – understanding networks through graph theory.

– Language Arts – researching actors’ biographies for context and additional connections.


Introducing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to your classroom is an enjoyable way of contextualizing a larger idea of our world’s interconnectedness. In addition to instilling valuable skills like critical thinking and problem-solving, it can serve as a springboard for deeper understanding across various subjects. Most importantly, it encourages young minds to think deeply about connections within their own lives and the larger global community.

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