Time: 15-30 min
Audience: Any (team)
A quick and easy way to facilitate team building in small groups of 4 people. This game requires players to work together to build a tower of Styrofoam cups using only strings tied to a rubber band that fits over each cup. Players must cooperate to build their tower of cups. The goal is to get a tower built before any other team. There are variations to the way this game can be played (see below). Fun, requires novice hand-eye coordination!
Time Requirements: 15-30 minutes
Material needed: Styrofoam cups (6 x whatever number of groups you are going to have), 1 elastic for each group, 4 lengths of about 3 feet of string for each group, and masking tape.
- Before the game, 4 strings must be tied to each elastic; so that each elastic may be stretched by pulling on the strings (therefore, ensure strings are equally spaced around the elastic).
- Masking tape is used to create a 3’x3’ square on the table or floor, whichever surface the game is to be played on. Make sure there are 4 chairs at the table if that is the playing surface.
- Place 6 Styrofoam cups upside down inside the square.
- Without using any hands, the object is for groups to race to be first finished stacking the cups in a pyramid (3 across the bottom row, 2 on top of that, 1 on the very top). Group members need to work together to stretch the elastic around the inverted cup; then lift the cup to its destination.
- If a cup gets knocked over, the group may raise a hand to have the instructor come and pick up the cup, but NO-ONE except the instructor is to ever touch the cup or even pass a body part over the taped perimeter!
Options (variations on the game):
- Students cannot use vocal language to converse during the activity, to indicate how much we rely on speech to communicate.
- Assign each group member a ‘personality’ by handing out personality description cards to each player (i.e. ‘control freak’, ‘passive aggressive’, ‘disinterested’, ‘encourager’, etc.). This isn’t too difficult to do, as only 4 traits need be created. Give a different personality to each person at the table. Each person should keep their personalities a secret and act out the assigned traits during the game. This variation on the game means that people may not act as they normally do, making cooperation all that more difficult. It will help reinforce that when a group has a goal, regardless of issues that may influence the process, the goal must be reached.
Function in class: This activity can be used at the beginning of a class – to lead into a discussion about team, cooperation, dealing with difficult people, etc. or at the end to demonstrate team content, or to start the process of working together as a group, etc.