My favorite rope activity is “Knot or Not” [credited to Dr. Jim Cain] I take a mess of a rope and pull the ends out a little bit and put it on the ground in front of the group.
[The Objective] Without touching the rope, the group must unanimously decide [reach consensus] if when the two ends of the rope are pulled, will there be a knot in the rope or not (no knot).
When they think they all agree, we do a blind vote [close their eyes] where they vote for a knot or no knot. If they all agree then they unanimously decided and completed the challenge [the objective]. If they are “not” in total agreement, then they get more time to discuss and make their arguments, and the process continues until they all agree [blind voting], or I have to step in and remind them of the goal and facilitate discussion.
Once they have unanimously decided, I grab the two ends of the rope, holding on to them the whole time (because I know what's going to happen), and start to gather up the rope. I have never been able to pick up the rope completely before they stop me, because they want to know if there is a knot or not.
I ask them what the goal was, and then ask them if there was anything in the goal about being right. Since there wasn’t, I say “Okay,” and continue to gather up the rope. I will always get stopped again.
At this point I start to talk about why we have to know. After a good discussion, I will give them these two options - I will declare you right and we will walk away with being able to say that you were right. Or, we pull the two ends and you could be right, you could be wrong, but you will then know for sure. I tell them that it is a group decision, but [this time] we go with a simple 2/3 majority (although it is usually very close to unanimous). When they decide to pull the ends, I remind them that they all agreed on whatever they agreed on, so that means that they are either all right or all wrong. I then pick two people to pull the ends and we find out. [Another good discussion could be generated after the result.]
12 Spaces [editor's, Chris', name at this time - Floyd didn't give us one yet.]
Materials: 50-f00t activity rope with ends tied together. Safe tossable(s) [e.g., foam ball or stuffed animal]. Timing device (optional).
Set-Up: Place the activity rope on the ground in a circle. Place the tossable(s) on the ground in or near the rope circle. Have the group stand around the activity rope (not permanent positioning... maybe).
Play: I have been picturing and using this as a timed goal setting activity. The community will set a goal time that represents how long they believe it will take to complete the task.
- Time starts when the first piece of activity material (rope or tossable) is touched.
- The community is challenged to pick up the rope and create 12 (variable) spaces obviously distinct from each other.
- The community is challenged with passing the tossable through each of the 12 created spaces.
- Everyone in the community is challenged to either participate in holding the activity rope or in navigating the tossable through each of the spaces (or both).
- Once the tossable has completed its journey through space(s), the community is challenged to place the rope and tossable back onto the ground with the rope back in its circle shape.
- Time will stop when all materials are on the ground and all hands are off materials.
NOTE: Something I'm thinking about: Place a poly/game spot on the ground under the knot. After completing the task, the knot will be returned to the poly spot and the rope [is placed back into] a circle on the ground. [One more task to organize and complete.]
I have had a lot of fun playing with this in my head and then seeing groups interact with it.
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.