Dan and Cecilia:
At the pilot launch we ran this lesson through "Responding to Products." We chose to use the warm-up activity as an energizer, participants moved to corners that were labeled A,B,C,D. We heard from students who chose different products even though they were playing the same part; we felt this helped to add to the empathy that this lesson is trying to create in our students. While one presenter encouraged students to be really creative with their back stories, others saw drawbacks to allowing that to happen, this probably comes down to your own personal teaching style and the age group you are catering to.
We grouped the students together by user, when we presented the slides we gave them one minute to respond silently before coming to consensus as a table. We felt that worked well and helped keep students accountable and tuned in to the activity.
We got so caught up in the activity in retrospect we realized it would have been even better if we had framed our questions around usability and aesthetics.
The provided slides worked well, if you add any of your own, you should probably make sure there is still "grey area" for each product.