This team-building activity is called "The Glue Rope."
In this game, you quickly get to know the roles your students assume when working together as a group. It provides ample opportunities to discuss and engage your class in teamwork.
Benefits of this activity include:
- Team building
- Initiating action
- Listening to solutions
- Expressing opinions in the group
- Form groups of approximately 8 students.
- This exercise can be conducted indoors, in a playroom or part of a gym, or outdoors.
- Active participation.
- Duration: Approximately 30 minutes.
For each group, prepare a 10-meter-long rope with easy-to-untie knots.
1. Tie loose knots in all the ropes, as shown in the picture.
2. Ensure there is enough space for students to grip the loops.
3. Divide the class into groups and position them near the ropes without touching them.
4. Stand in the center of the groups.
5. Allow adequate movement space around the rope for the groups.
Rules and guidelines:
1. This is not a competition between the groups.
2. The rules are binding; failure to follow them will result in letting go of the rope and no longer participating.
3. The group's objective is to untangle the rope.
4. Each participant must grip the rope with both hands side by side.
5. No rope should pass between the hands of one person.
6. All hands should grip the rope with the backs of their hands facing upwards.
7. Once you grip the rope, you cannot move your hands; you are glued in place!
Depending on how the groups are formed:
- If you have a group with the most outspoken students (leaders), they might become noisy. You can quiet them down by saying they are giving away the solution out loud. Cheating is allowed in this game.
- This game requires observation, discussion, and action.
What the group should NOT do is pull the rope; the knots will tighten. Some students might still try to do this; let them experience the effect.
The knots can be untied as students, while holding the rope, pass through the loops. That's the solution.
The group can make some loops larger, passing them over another student, but they must not move their own hands over the rope, nor should they entangle another student.
The groups might compete against each other.
Eventually, one group will discover the "trick," and true teamwork will come into play.
Do not let the game continue for too long. Especially for the group with the tightened rope, it can be frustrating. Stop the game, evaluate, retie the knots, and play again with a variation.
After the first round, you can introduce various elements:
- Number the students, and in the next round, only the student with a specific number can give instructions. Rotate this throughout the round.
- If your students are younger, let the one giving instructions step aside while holding the rope, and allow the next student to take their place when it's their turn.
- You can mix the groups, grouping leaders together or mixing them up.
-Conduct a debriefing session after the first round.
-Discuss how each group fared.
-Ask which students immediately knew how to untangle the rope. Were they able to communicate this to the group?
-Did everyone get a chance to speak and be heard in the group?
-Who saw it as a race against the other groups?
-Relate the activity to the classroom: Do they take leadership roles? Do they prefer a more reserved approach? What are their preferred roles, and how do they feel about them?
1. Some students act quickly without much thought. While this is good, they should be aware that there's a 50% chance of being wrong. Encourage their enthusiasm!
2. Some students know the solution but struggle to make their voices heard. How can the group/class better utilize this talent? How can they communicate more effectively?
3. Some students mediate in the groups; is this a recurring behavior? Is it acknowledged and appreciated?
4. Based on this exercise, what would make good collaboration groups?
After the first few minutes, make it clear that pulling the rope is not allowed to avoid any accidents or entangled hands.