- This is a group problem solving & communication exercise
- This activity involves moving marbles or different sized balls or even
lengths of half pipe or 1"/2"gutters. The trick? Each participant has only
one short length of pipe each, and the start and finish points can be
separated by an obstacle course!
- Can be done with children of upper primary age, teenagers and adults in a
variety of settings both indoors and outdoors.
- Choose this activity when you need to energize the group into a team, or
to emphasize the importance of each member's actions in a team.
- As facilitator, you can control how hard or easy to make this
task. You can take them over obstacles, down stairs, around trees, etc. If, for example, the group is in the forming stage, put only one
minor obstacle in the path and create opportunity for fairly instant
experiential success of teamwork. If the
team is functioning cohesively, make the obstacle course longer and harder
and more physically challenging in order to deepen their experience of
what they can achieve together.
- Brief the participants on the start line and the finish point (a
distinctive container is helpful), and give them any extra rules you may
wish to add to the task, such as: every person must carry the marble at
least once; participants need to take turns in a certain order; or both
feet must remain on the floor at all times-get creative if you want to add
- Give the group the pipes and the marble and 5 minutes planning time.
- Allow the group several attempts if you have the time and they have the
motivation, or keep it to one attempt and draw out the key points in the
- Challenge the group to see how fast they can get the marble through the
obstacle course. Time the group, and ask them to "tender" for how fast
they think they can really do it. Then give them another go. Requires
- For added problem solving under pressure, do not give the pipes and marble
to the group during planning time.
- Can be done indoors with a height factor involved. Explain that the marble
is stuck to a point on the wall with blue tack and their job is to
'rescue' it and bring it down safely to a container on the floor. Use the
gutters more like a ramp, and perhaps give one less gutter than the
distance. Once they are set up, allow the marble to be released from the
- Frame the activity in terms of a new project which the team needs to
respond to both efficiently and effectively, for example: a new client
with specific needs; a tender to be put together by a deadline; or a
marketing strategy idea that needs to be put into action.
- 5 mins planning
- 5 mins to 30 mins action