Mouse Trap Minefield

Type of Activity: Trust - HIGH RISK

Props Needed: 50 mousetraps and a roped off area.

Set Up: For this activity we will have a roped off area with loaded mousetraps inside.

Process: The object of this highly visual activity is to verbally guide a ‘blind’ participant through the mine field without them stepping on any of the items inside the  boundary.  Verbal directions must come from the sidelines; i.e., the verbal leader is not allowed to stand next to his/her partner within the mine field.  The partners will switch roles after the first has been led through successfully.  The use of mousetraps generates a perceived physical injury risk.  This heightens the trust level the   participants must have with each other to feel safe throughout the activity as well as the stress level.

Variation: One variation we might implement for this activity would, be to create three roles in the activity:  observer, walker, and guide.  The observer should watch for subtle interactions between the walker and the guide with a special  attention to the walker’s reactions to the behaviors of the guide.

Only walkers are allowed within the roped off area with ‘mines.’  The walker should focus only on his guide’s eyes, without looking down at his own feet or the ‘mines’ on the floor.

All the groups of three will begin simultaneously.  The walkers should make their way across the diameter of the roped off area while only looking into the eyes of the guide.  The guide may give both verbal and nonverbal commands from outside the circle.  When the walker   completes the crossing, ask the trio to switch roles.

Notes:  What often happens is that the walker will look down at the ‘mines’ when the guide seems unsure or untrustworthy.  Usually the walkers are unaware that they have glanced down.  Some walkers have more trouble than others.

Debriefing Topics:

  • What did it feel like to be blindfolded?
  • Was it easier to give directions or to be lead?
  • What did the observers gather about the guides and walkers?
  • What were the guides doing to instill confidence in the walkers?
  • What were some strategies for getting across the minefield?
  • How did the mousetraps affect your performance?

For more resources see: Raptor

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