This activity is a powerful exercise for learning how to work together and communicate to small and medium-sized groups.
Download Activity Worksheet
What to do
- Lay tent poles at on the ground throughout the room – you’ll need one tent pole for each group.
- Divide participants into multiple groups of 8-12 (depending on the number of participants).
- Have group members line up on either side of the tent pole, lift up the tent pole to shoulder height and balance it on their index fingers. Note: no pinching or grabbing of the pole is allowed.
- The object of the activity is to lower the tent pole to the ground from shoulder height. Easy, right? Wait, there are a few additional steps:
- a. The team must work together to lower the tent pole to the ground from the starting position of shoulder height.
- b. If at any time a team member’s finger loses contact with the pole, the team must go back to the start and begin again.
- As the facilitator, if a group is struggling you can o er suggestions to the group to help them out. If a group is moving too quickly remind them if a team member’s finger loses contact they must start over again.
- Finish when at least one team has gotten their tent pole to the ground.
- What was your initial reaction to this exercise?
- How did your group cope with the challenge?
- What skills did it take for your group to be successful?
- What would an outside observer say were the strengths and weaknesses of your group?
- What other situations can work like this?