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Alligator River

Alligator River

Props/Prep: Yes
Time: 20-30 min
Audience: Any (groups)
Physical: No

Activity: This activity is focused on participant discussion, prioritizing, and consensus. During this activity, groups of participants must work collaboratively and make concessions in order to reach success. A discussion based activity. You must provide each participant with the alligator river story.

Time requirements: 20-30 minutes 

Materials needed: 1 copy of the Alligator River story for each participant 

Phase 1

  • Divide the class into groups of 3-5
  • Give each group member a copy of the Alligator River Story
  • Instruct group member to silently read their story
  • Once everyone has read the scenario, instruct your groups to begin discussion
  • Give the groups some time, and then warm them that time is almost up
  • Give the groups a chance to rank the story characters
  • Give the groups a chance to discuss their final choices
  • Bring all the groups back together in the classroom and have each group present their rank order
  • Discuss the differences between group ranking

Phase 2

  • Debrief the decision making process within the groups
  • Ask them what skills were necessary to use in order to rank their story characters
  • Have them discuss how they made decisions and what types of compromises were made

Phase 3

  • Discuss the process used in this activity and its application to the real world and specific professions. 

Function in the class: This activity is best used to demonstrate cooperation, collaboration, discussion, prioritizing, and consensus building. It is also a great way to discover less then desirable traits used to try and persuade people to change their minds. It is a great way to start developing skills to work effectively in groups.

Alligator River Story

Once there was a girl named Abigail who was in love with a boy named Gregory. Gregory had an unfortunate accident and broke his glasses. Abigail, being a true friend, volunteered to take them to be repaired. The repair shop was across the river, and during a flash flood the bridge was washed away. Poor Gregory could see nothing without his glasses, so Abigail was desperate to get across the river to the repair shop. While she was standing forlornly on the bank of the river, clutching the broken glasses in her hand, a boy named Sinbad glided by in a rowboat.

She asked Sinbad if he would take her across the river. He agreed on the condition that while she was having the glasses repaired, she would go to a nearby store and steal an IPOD he had been wanting. Abigail refused to do this and went to see a friend name Ivan who had a boat.

When Abigail told Ivan her problem, he said he was too busy to help her out and didn’t want to become involved. Abigail, feeling that she had no other choice, returned to Sinbad and told him she would agree to his plan. 

When Abigail returned the repaired glasses to Gregory, she told him what she had done. Gregory was so mad at what she had done that he told her he never wanted to see her again.

Abigail, upset and heartbroken, turned to Slug with her tale of woe. Slug was so sorry for Abigail that he promised her he would get even with Gregory. They went to the school playground where Gregory was playing ball and Abigail watched happily while Slug beat Gregory up and broke his new glasses. 

Rank the story characters from Best to Worst and give rational for your decisions.

Characters Rational
1. Abigail 1.
2. Gregory
3. Sinbad 3.
4. Ivan
5. Slug  


Rules: Remember, you must rank the characters from best to worst. You must all agree with the final ranking. 

  • You must listen while others talk
  • You must not interrupt others
  • You may not name call or say derogatory remarks about other’s thoughts
  • You must treat others with respect at all times
  • You must reach consensus