Not Knots

Type of Activity: Problem-Solving, Consensus Building

Props Needed: Webbing

Set Up: In this activity, which can be accomplished with only a single piece of webbing (in a straight line, without a water knot), a “doodle” is constructed (see examples below) and the group is given the choice of whether this doodle will create a KNOT or NOT A KNOT, when the ends of the webbing are pulled.

Process: A natural consensus building activity to follow 2B or KNOT 2B is Not Knots. The object here is to provide the group with some tools to use when they cannot easily form a consensus. Typically, upon analysis, about half of the group thinks the doodle will form a knot, and the other half a straight line. If this is the case, ask participants to partner with another person that has a different viewpoint (i.e. one partner from the KNOT side, and one partner from the NOT A KNOT side). By learning how to listen to a person with a different viewpoint, group members learn how to cooperate. After this discussion, ask participants to choose sides, with the KNOT decision folks on one side of the knot doodle, and the NOT A KNOT folks on the other side.

At this point, it is likely that there will still not be a complete consensus within the group. Prior to slowly pulling the ends of the knot doodle, let the members of the group know that you will pull the knot doodle slowly, and that they can change sides at any time during the unraveling of the knot doodle (this illustrates the ability to make an initial decision, but still be flexible as more information becomes available).

Debriefing Topics:

  • What ideas did you consider before you decided on whether is was a knot or not a knot?
  • Did anyone else’s suggestions sway you one way or the other?
  • How is this like normal everyday life?

For Resources:  The Book of Raccoon Circles, Webbing

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