The activity Pipeline (a.k.a., Gutter Ball and other names), has been a personal favorite of mine for over 20 years - it's one of the first activities I learned. Here is a nice description on WIlderdom (keeping in mind it's Karl Rohnke/Project Adventure origins).
Here are some of the Pipelines and Gutters I've used over the years: Round PVC piping of various sizes; Round PVC cut in half to make "Gutters" - this variation seems to be the most popular; Paper towel and toilet paper rolls - kept round or cut in half or cut a paper towel roll into a spiral!; Bubble tea straws (these are the big ones) or even the smaller straws; A single piece of 8 1/2 by 11 paper - participants can be creative with this resources; a short/small piece of wood; Clear flexible tubing; Hot wheels track (brings back memories); Tennis ball tubes cut up to form a round tube or cut in half for gutters; Foam pool noodles - two players work together, each with a noodle, pressing them together length-wise so something (e.g., tennis ball) can roll down the the track; the resources here are endless.
Here are some of my favorite resources to move through the Pipeline or Gutters: GLASS MARBLES of various sizes (seems to be the main standard); WOODEN MARBLES - you can write things on these: each player has a marble with his or her name on it - how will the players move "each other" through the pipeline? Write concepts on the wooden marbles like, trust, support, peace, kindness, friendship, listening - how will the players treat these concepts? How do they perceive these concepts? MAGNETIC MARBLES of various sizes - these tend to slow the process down a bit (I don't let these marbles "slide" through the pipeline) - they have a wonderful dynamic; TENNIS BALLS used with foam pool noodle gutters - you can write on tennis balls too! I tend to stay away from the real small objects like BBs (used with air guns) - too easy to lose them and you don't get the best sound out of them when they drop into the container at the end.
What sorts of pipelines/gutters and round spherical objects do you use? Leave a comment below.
All the best,
I'm not completely sure why, but I connect well with and remember things better in threes. I think it started with collecting objects/props in threes - as activity equipment and juggling tools.
At the moment I'm working through the book, Teaching Online: A Practical Guide (3rd ed.) by Susan Ko and Steve Rossen (I'm interested in teaching online - especially, learning how to create continuing education online courses for adventure educators). In one of the initial chapters the authors tell us that when teaching online you must continuously review your course design and content, reflect on the effectiveness of the design and content (Is it doing what you want it to do?), and revise the design and content if it's not working for you or your students.
I realized right away that this is a nice processing model as well. In my simple world I see processing as a noun - it is a time when the facilitator and participants get together to create a space for talking about recent events. The verbs include:
Review - participants simply state what they remember about the current event. I like to ask, "If we were watching a video of the last activity tell me what you would see and hear." Or, "What do you remember seeing and hearing during the last activity?" (Trying to leave out opinion at this stage.) (Note: Roger Greenaway uses the term "reviewing" as the noun for bring participants together to talk. Check out his comprehensive Reviewing Website in the topic.)
Reflect - Here we think and talk about the meaning of what was seen or heard. Topics can be participant generated or facilitator generated. Why was there a lot of laughing? What were some of the reasons for talking loudly? Or, talking at the same time? Why do you think you divided yourselves into two groups? What grade would you give your overall teamwork? What behaviors lead to the grade? Here is the place for opinions, assumptions, and feelings. All good things to talk about.
Revise - After reflecting we can think and talk about how we might want to change - add behaviors that are missing and try to reduce/eliminate behaviors that are not useful. What can we do to get a better grade on our teamwork? What can help us get along better during the next activity? How would taking turns to speak help us out? What do we need to be the best we can be at this time?
This basic approach is not completely novel - it's a simplified version of a large body of work on processing. It's fairly synonymous with the, What? So What? Now What? approach from Outward Bound. The 3-Rs really give me a clearer picture of the steps I like to take during a processing session.
What other "simple" models are out there for processing? Please comment below.
All the best,
Keep an eye out for a soft tossable that looks like a small soccer ball - I've seen simple black and white colors and the multi-colored (pictured) versions. It's a little bigger than a standard softball. I've seen them in the "dollar" stores, and other big-box stores.
Pull out a couple permanent markers (one silver and one black marker have worked well for me) and mark each panel of the tossable with a different number (1, 2 or 3), or a different letter (I stay away from the Q, X & Z), or mix and match numbers and letters - again each panel only has one symbol.
Now, besides having a great tossable for a wide variety of toss-and-catch activities, you have an icebreaker and debriefing tool.
Icebreakers: Toss the ball to someone willing to share. After a two-handed catch there will be a number (or letter) under each thumb. The person gets to choose one of the numbers (or letters) and use it to share something or some things about him or herself. Say I choose the number 3 under my left thumb - I then share three things about myself. If it happens to be the letter C I would choose a descriptive word related to my personality that starts with the letter C. These, of course, are only two possibilities of endless, well......possibilities.
Debriefing Tool: Use the Number (or Letter) Ball to talk about an experience that just occurred. For example, tell the group one (or 2 or 3) things you found important about the last activity (depending on what's under a thumb. Or, think of a word that starts with a C (or the letter under a thumb) that describes something about your last experience.
When you are ready for the deluxe version of this activity idea, check out the wide variety of Thumballs at the Training Wheels online store - you'll find them under the Icebreakers tab and Training Wheels originals. My favorites - Ice Breaker Thumball and the Debriefing Thumball
Others: Leadership Thumball, Conflict Resolution Thumball, Meet & Greet Thumball, and more.
What else could we do with this idea? Comment below.
All the best,
I learned Word Circles activity from Chip Schiegel a number of years ago and, based on the "solution" aspect of the task, have called them Word Circle Puzzles ever since.
The basic idea is to take a group of predetermined words and connect them together ending up with a circle - each word is appropriately connected to the word in front of it and the word after it (e.g., compound words, a two-word phrase, two common words that make up one word, etc.)
Here is a new Word Circle Puzzle set up in solution order:
Room, Light, Show, Boat, Club, Soda, Pop, Corn, Field, Gun, Stock, Still (connects to Room)
To make this a team building activity you write out each word on an index card - nice and big. (Of course you could also digitize the words, copy, laminate and cut.) Each participant in your group will need at least one word card (for most variations of play). The easiest set up is simply telling the group to "arrange all the words so they connect to each other forming one big circle - all words need to be used." Then let them at it. As with any team building activity keep an eye out for the dynamics - those great things to talk about.
In the Word Circle Puzzles Kit I developed there are 12 different presentation ideas. Here is another presentation idea I've been trying out. Before handing out the word cards tell participants that they are not allowed to show anyone the word (or words) they possess. Hand out the word cards (no more than two cards per person). Tell the participants they are allowed to tell one other person in the group what word (or words) they possess. This is the only person that is then allowed to tell the group what word is being held by the player they spoke with. Again, word cards are not to be shown to anyone else in the group. Players must be standing in a circle - they believe to be the correct answer - before revealing the word card(s) they are holding. If a player has two word cards they are allowed to give one card away. This variation brings up a lot of good things to talk about.
Here is another new puzzle for you - not in solution order. Have fun.
Start, Form, Lap, He, Ding, End, Bat, Up, Letter, Bed, Head, Ear, Dog, Art
(If you need the answer to this one, drop me an email!)
Where can you find Word Circle Puzzles? My first recommendation is to create them yourself. Short ones are a bit more challenging to create than the longer ones. Longer puzzles are more challenging to solve. Contact me if you are interested in the Word Circle Puzzles Kit - over a dozen print and cut word card sets ready to use and 12 presentation variations.
Comment below with your Word Circle Puzzle creation(s)!
All the best,
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This blog is a space for hands-on programable fun - energetic activities and ideas that can be used as a means to bring people together; activities and ideas we as educators can add to our social development curriculums.
Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known author, speaker, and trainer in the area of adventure-based activity programming and its relation to community and pro-social behavior development.