Cutting Edge of Teamwork

Type of Activity:  Teambuilder, Communication, Collaboration

Props: 12 butter knives (for each set of 4 people), 12 large marshmallows for pedestals

Objective: Duplicate a structure using knives and marshmallows.

Set Up:  For larger groups, divide the knives and marshmallow into groups of three and place the sets on several tables so that people can get them easily. For small groups, have the materials available on the table.

Process: In a moment, we will be working with some knives and marshmallows. Please be careful not to cut yourself with the knives and please do not eat the marshmallows. The facilitator will be showing you some pictures of a structure I would like you to reproduce.  Take your time and ask questions as we go. After each of the four stages, we will discuss what you did and I will ask some questions.

Go gather three knives and three marshmallows.

Round 1:  Use the three knives as bridges and three marshmallows as pedestals to build a structure like the one pictured. Each knife blade rests on only one other knife and the marshmallows are more than a knife's length apart.

Round 2:  Partner with someone near you.  With the combined materials you have with your partner, build a structure like the one in the picture using 6 knives and 6 marshmallows.

Round 3:  Now gather with another group to make structure in picture.  All four of you till use twelve knives and twelve marshmallows. each knife blade rest on only one other knife.

Round 4:  Now it's time for you to use yourselves as resources rather than knives and marshmallows.  In your group of four, you will use your bodies like the knives and your hands and arms like the  marshmallows. Each person will place his/her feet in the lap of another person so that when everyone straightens their bodies, the only thing touching the floor will be hands!

Discussion Topics:

  • Experience the different between a "group" and a "team." How are the knives before the construction, like a group,  and the same knives after construction, like a team?
  • What were the differences between working "alone" and working as a "team" in collaboration?
  • What is the different between a "small team" and a "large team"? How does group size affect performance and interaction?
  • What is the difference between talking about something as appose to really experiencing it?

Check out this activity and so much more in Raptor and other Team Building Activities by Sam Sikes. 

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