Students participate in a group activity that requires skills such as collaboration, support, problem solving, flexibility, and trust.
This activity pairs well with most of the other lessons. If you are looking to extend time on any lesson, or get students up and practicing skills, this is your ticket!
The objective of this activity is for students to complete a mildly difficult task (crossing an open space using only a few “stepping stones”). In order for students to complete it successfully, they will need to utilize skills such as creative problem-solving, communication, group organization, seeking to understand others, and moments of support.
Students should be allowed to work through the activity without teacher intervention in order for student skills to emerge and struggle to naturally occur. The reflection time of this activity is where the facilitator can guide student learning.
If your student group seems to believe that a “leader” is the one with the loudest voice and in charge, consider changing some language here. Either frontload this activity with an emphasis on leadership skills such as listening, followership, and support—OR—instead of bringing up leadership at all, discuss 1) what roles are needed to help make this successful, or 2) what skills will the group need to employ.
“River Stones” such as paper or vinyl spots.
Boundary markers such as tape or rope.
1. Limited Steps: Invite individuals, pairs and small teams to traverse the area in as few steps as successfully and as quickly as possible. Allow ample time for people to plan, experiment and accomplish this task.
2. Crossing Paths: Divide your group into two, and ask each half to start from opposing start zones. The goal is the same, to safely get every person to the other safe zone, but note the propensity of one half or both to assist the other, or not.
1. Watch for slipping “stones” which can be a safety concern. Tape paper to the floor or move to a carpeted or grassy surface.
2. As noted earlier, the theme if this activity can be altered to fit a variety of themes. See the Variations and Reflection tabs for suggestions about how to modify.
1. Invite students to reflect on their experience using some or all of the questions below that best fit the student experience:
• What did you notice about yourself and the group during this experience?
• In what ways did you offer, or were you offered support during the traverse?
• What effective communication skills were used?
• What role did you take? What role did you notice others took?
• What leadership skills were needed? Which were used? Give examples.
• Did you always admit to touching the ‘no-go’ zone? Why or why not?
• What does integrity mean? What does trust mean? How did you see these related?
• How do we know when integrity is compromised? Can you provide examples?