Time: 45-75 minutes
How It’s Done:
Here’s a challenging exercise for practicing making decisions and communication. We’ve used it successfully in a number of settings — US, Thailand, Sierra Leone, Canada — and with groups of six people to over seventy! It’s best for a middle-sized group — around 15-25 people. In this adventure-based learning activity the challenge is fairly simple: to walk as a group from one place to another. The twist: the group must walk all in one line together with their feet touching their neighbors’ feet the whole time.
Explain the set-up for participants, where people need to start and where people need to end up. Also tell them that if their feet do not stay together the whole time, they need to return to the start – then have them go for it! During the running of the exercise, you may choose to be very strict in implementing the rule about returning to the beginning or you may be very relaxed: it depends on the state of the group and how much challenge it can handle.
You can debrief this activity for problem-solving, communication and group decision-making. (For example, there is no rule that participants cannot get in a circle to discuss strategy, but participants may instead stay in a line.
- How did participants handle that challenge?) As with all adventure-based learning activities (ABLs), it is great to connect their current experience with past experiences completing other ABLs.
- What patterns are developing?
- What lessons that were learned are working?
- What additional lessons does the group need to learn?
Where This Tool Comes From
This tool comes out of the field of adventure-based learning activities. For more, see Project Adventure’s material in Quicksilver: Adventure Games, Initiative Problems, Trust Activities and a Guide to Effective Leadership, by Karl Rohnke and Steve Butter (Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, reprint 1996).