Villages and Wells

Type of Activity: Problem-Solving, Communication

Props Needed: Webbing and objects to represent houses and wells (hula hoops work great)

Set Up: Here is a classic puzzle from the 19th century. Set up the wells and houses in a 3x2 formation.  Be aware of distance between objects so that the longest distance is still reachable by your longest length of webbing. Set all the webbing to the side after set up is complete. See Picture.

Process: The challenge in this problem solving activity, using 9 untied  Raccoon Circles, is to create connections between each of the three houses, and the three water wells in the nearby space. For those that like “stories” for such activities, imagine that the residents of each house are friendly neighbors, but are worried about the possibility of a water shortage in the coming dry season. As neighbors, they are all willing to work together to find a  solution, by making sure that each of their houses is connected to each of the three wells, but that none of the lines are crossed. One house below has been connected to the three wells. The task or challenge is for the group to find a method for connecting the other two houses to the wells. You might want to use bricks, wooden blocks, books, or any other small square objects to mark the three houses and three wells, as shown here:

One possible solution (although not the only one, especially for a creative group that is  willing to “bend the rules” a bit) is shown below. This “solution” requires some creativity to keep the water lines from crossing In this case, one of the lines must either pass through one of the wells, or one of the houses, thus connecting all the other wells and houses, without crossing any water lines!

Debriefing Topics:

  • What was the most difficult aspect of this challenge?
  • What skills did you have to rely on more during this activity?
  • Are there other solutions?

Resources:  The Book of Raccoon Circles, Teamwork & Teamplay, Webbing

Material in this Online Games Database is copyrighted.  Copyright ©  Training Wheels or by the author who submitted the activity.  Permission needed to copy or reproduce.