Classroom Dynamics Activities Insanity

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1 Classroom Dynamics Activities Insanity Equipment hula hoops (enough for one hoop per 2-4 participants plus one extra hoop) assorted items such as balls, markers, etc. (a total # of items of about 8-10 times the number of hoops) Preparation Arrange the hoops (as shown to the right) with hoops spread evenly around a center hoop, with several feet between them. Place all of the items inside the hoop in the middle feet Instructions Divide the participants into groups so that there are 2-4 individuals per group. Have each group go to one of the outside hoops. Give the participants the following instructions: 1) I m going to give you some important instructions, and then this activity will immediately begin, so please try to listen carefully. 2) The goal of this activity is to get as many of the objects in the center hoop into your hoop. 3) Once the activity begins, you may accomplish this by walking (no running!) to the middle hoop, picking up one and only one object, walking back to your hoop, and placing it in your hoop. 4) You may not pick up more than one object, throw objects to your hoop or to teammates, stuff objects in your clothing, etc. Only one at a time and you must place it in your hoop. 5) Once you have put an object in your hoop, you may return to the middle and retrieve another object. 6) Also, once there are objects in other teams hoops, you may walk to their hoop, pick up one and only one object, and return to place it in your hoop (under the same rules as before). 7) Some safety notes: 1) please watch your heads as you go to the middle and lean down to pick up objects; 2) again, no running; and 3) there is absolutely no guarding of your hoop you must give free access to others to your hoop; no guarding, holding, tackling, whatever Without giving time to strategize, yell Go! and watch the fun begin. Allow the activity to run for 45 seconds to a minute then yell Stop! If you have an object in your hands, you may take it back to your hoop. Have the teams count the number of items in their hoop, report results out to the large group, and return all objects to the middle hoop. Tell them there will be another round for a chance to improve their performance, but they first have 30 seconds to strategize. At the end of 30 seconds, yell Go! and run the activity as before. Repeat rounds, giving an increasing amount of time between rounds to strategize, until the group gets to a win-win solution of stacking all hoops up in the middle (or the group rebels and begins throwing objects at you!)

2 (continued on next page) Facilitator Notes Ultimately, someone will likely think of moving their hoop and will ask you if it s OK. Of course it is OK, but your standard response should be I ve given you all the rules you need to know for this activity. If hoops are moved, be sure to get the groups to reset them to the starting positions between rounds. If the group is not making progress towards a win-win solution after a few rounds, it is often helpful to continually remind them that the goal of the activity is to get as many of the objects in their hoop as possible. Your introduction/instructions for the activity are critical. You must give them the rules and guidelines for the activity without giving any particular indication that this is a competition. (They will make it competitive on their own.) The activity usually self-debriefs because the message is very clear, but here are some probing questions that may work for discussion: - Did anyone feel competitive at any time during the activity? Why? What about this activity contributed to that? - What drove the group towards the win-win solution? What was the progression that made this shift possible? - How do the dynamics of this activity relate to the real-world dynamics of this team? Typical topics that might come up in a debrief: - impact of competition/collaboration on the team - paradigm shifts - barriers and enablers to a win-win solution - who is the team? - the role of communication in team success - issues of trust This is an excellent activity to set the tone for a more detailed discussion of teaming issues.

3 Triadic Trek Activity Overview: Blindfolded participants retrieve objects from an open area guided by a mute person who can see everything and by a non-mute person who can only see the mute person Group size: Location: Six and up In a large, mostly-open area Equipment hula hoops (2 for each 3 participants) trios of identical objects for each 3 participants (e.g. 3 koosh balls for one group of three, 3 cones for another group of three, etc.) blindfolds for all participants Set-Up (refer to diagram) Lay out pairs of hula hoops (e.g. A-B) on one end of the open area, one pair for each group of three participants. Be prepared with trios of identical objects (one trio for each group of three participants) but do not reveal them or spread them around the open area yet. 3 feet A B C D E F this diagram illustrates a set-up for 9 people (3 triads) Process (refer to diagram) Have the participants forms triads (groups of three). Position each triad by each set (e.g. A-B) of hula hoops. Ask the triads to make role assignments as follows: one person will be the doer, one person the seer, and one person the talker. Have the mute person (the seer ) stand in the left hoop (e.g. A or C or E) facing right towards the open field. Have the sighted, non-mute person (the talker ) stand in the right hoop (e.g. B or D or F) facing left towards the mute person. (continued on next page)

4 Announce that the doer will be blindfolded for this activity, the seer will be mute with his/her position fixed, and the talker will have his/her position fixed. The individuals in the hoops cannot move the hoops, move out of the hoops, or turn from the direction they are facing their position is FIXED! Announce to all that the goal of the activity is for each triad to guide its blindfolded member to collect three identical objects and return the objects to the hoop of the sighted, non-mute person (e.g. B or D or F). The activity is not complete and successful until all trios of objects are in the appropriate hoops. There will multiple rounds of 2-3 minutes each to see if performance can be improved. Allow a couple minutes of planning then have the doers put on their blindfolds and start out with their hands on their respective talkers shoulders. Display to the seers the objects that each triad is to retrieve so that each only they can see them. Spread the objects around the open area. Feel free to vary the manner in which each object is placed in the area (e.g. first koosh on the ground, second koosh on a chair / tree stump, third koosh hanging on a wall / tree). Announce that the first round has begun. End the round after 2-3 minutes. Count the number of correct objects in the hoops and announce the total score (e.g. with three triads perhaps they were able to get 4 out of the possible 9 objects in the hoops.) Allow additional planning and begin a new round. Variations Enforce a rotation of roles in between every round. Rather than assign a trio of objects to each group, only tell them that each triad must retrieve 3 identical objects the entire team must then work out who is getting what on their own. Try an additional guideline that no blindfolded person may have more than one of an identical object on his/her person at any time perhaps they will choose to return each object to the hoops after each retrieval or perhaps they will collaborate with the other blind individuals to hold the objects. Safety facilitator(s) will need to help spot blindfolded participants who are moving around in the open area to ensure they do not run into anything Sample Debrief Topics impact of roles on team performance organizational, team, and individual communication competition vs. collaboration importance of a shared vision/goal the dynamic of planning-doing

5 Pipeline Overview: This activity involves a team moving a marble over a set distance and depositing it into a can using only plastic or wooden pipeline pieces. Ultimately, tight coordination and collaboration of team efforts is required as team members link their individual pieces into a moving pipeline for the marble. Equipment: One inch pipeline piece for each participant. These can be lengths of small PVC pipe cut in half or lengths of concave wooden molding or anything else that allows a marble to roll along its length. A marble A coffee can or other goal for the marble Tape or rope to mark a starting line Set-Up: Mark a starting line on the floor/ground. Place the can approximately twice the distance in feet as the number of participants (e.g. if 10 participants, place the can 20 feet from the starting line). Distribute a pipeline piece to each participant. Tell the participants the goal is to use their pipeline pieces to transfer the marble from anywhere behind the starting line to deposit it in the can. Guidelines: Every person s pipeline piece must be used in the process of moving the marble. You may not give your pipeline piece to anyone else. The only thing that can touch the marble between the starting line and the can is the plastic/wood pipeline pieces. If the marble is in contact with any person s pipeline piece, that person may not move from their position their feet are fixed to the floor. If the marble is not in contact with someone s pipeline piece, they may move wherever they want. Once the marble crosses the starting line, it must always be moving towards the goal (can). It may not stop or move backwards at any time. Any violation of the above guidelines (e.g. marble falls to the floor or is touched by a thumb or stops/moves backwards, etc.) will result in the marble having to start again behind the starting line. The starting line and/or can cannot be moved Potential Debrief Focus: Individual contributions to a team goal Managing the pace of team progress Team creative thinking and problem solving Managing team frustration The role of planning and practice in team success

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