(THIS POST WAS UPDATED AUGUST 2nd, 2017)
GO HERE to find a fully updated and detailed downloadable write-up for Flip Flip Tower.
As some of you might know, my friend Barry Thompson and I have just finished up a team building activity book called Cup It Up: Teambuilding with Cups! (Now on Sale!).
BONUS ACTIVITY: Flip Flop Tower. We did not put this one into the book CUP IT UP, so it's a perfect bonus and teaser to demonstrate the power of team building with cups. You'll notice in the picture above the group is using Speed Stack Cups (if you have them the different colors make for a great visual). In the picture below the group is using the red Solo brand cups. They both work great.
Needs & Numbers: For every group of 2 to 5 participants you'll need 36 cups (as noted above, Speed Stack or Solo cups work great). You will also need a solid surface, at ground level, to build from. A wind-free environment is also a good idea if you are not working on objectives like frustration or anger management!
The Objective Using only the 36 cups you have in your possession, build the tallest free-standing tower in 60 seconds.
Rules for Building:
Tower structures are scored by number of rows. Rows consist of one or more individual cups - nested cups, one, or more, inside of another, will not count as a row. (Note: The score for the red Solo cup tower is 16 (rows).
Once the groups understand the challenge I let them know they will have three attempts to build the tallest tower possible. I then give them three minutes to plan and practice before the first attempt.
Here's what I tell everyone before I start each attempt - "Your first row can be set up and ready to go. The rest of your cups can either be in your hands, set down on the ground, or a combination of both. Okay, is everybody ready? Set! Go!"
After 60 seconds, giving the groups continuous updates on the time remaining, call a hard STOP (e.g., horn, whistle, or yell it out). After the dust settles, have the groups count their number of rows still standing - the number of rows is their score for the first attempt. Tell the groups to remember their score. Then, give everyone two minutes to plan and practice for the second attempt. Encourage the groups to try and "better their score."
After the second round, each group makes a note of their score. Then, give everyone one minute to plan and practice for the third and final round. Have them note their score for the third round. After all three attempts take some time to focus on one or more of the discussion points (suggestions) below based on your group's objectives for their program.
National Standard and World Record
As of the date of this post, the national average of rows in 60 seconds, for the adult (18 years old and older) bracket is 17 rows. The world record, adult bracket, is 20.
Video Here's video of a group using Speed Stack cups. I only included two rounds to keep the video short - you'll get the idea. Note: Notice the tower in the first round is higher (for a moment) than the one the group builds in the second round - watch the behavior in the last few seconds of the second round!! Great stuff!
I've also been setting up Flip Flop with "expectations" - GO HERE for details on how expectations work - detailed write-up of Flip Flip Tower.
Let me know how this version goes!! Leave a comment below.
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
Explain the objective of the activity before each participant picks up three (or four) letters from the pool.
Each participant is required to place all of his or her letters down into a word puzzle by or before the fifth round of play. The word puzzle will be a "scrabble-like" configuration. Letters are spelled left to right or top to bottom (see the second and third pictures). All words must be connected to at least one other word when the puzzle is complete.
Pair up your participants (either in some sort of creative way or purposeful pairing).
NOTE: I designed this activity before working with a "couples" groups - couples that have been married for less than a year. They were lead by a mentor couple that had been married for 11 years. Lots of great talking points about "marriage" bubbled to the surface.
All participants will be standing (or sitting) together in a circle formation. Each participant is required to be standing next to his/her designated partner. When the circle pairing is set, have everyone go over to the pool of letters to pick up what they want (without discussion their choices with anyone) and then return to the circle formation (each player standing next to his/her partner). You might consider setting a time limit for picking up letters?
The game is played in a series of Rounds - five or six depending on the number of letters you allow everyone to pick up (the more letters the more rounds). In each Round each participant/player gets one turn to make one of the Possible Moves (even if he/she is not holding a letter).
Overall Round Rules:
Words will "grow" as players take turns adding letters. You'll need to decide how you will evaluate valid words. If you are a "Scrabbler" you can play by Scrabble rules - you may need to explain these to your group. You could also make up your own guidelines for valid words. I use a the smartphone app WordBook. I tell my group, "If I can find the words you create on my app they will count as valid words." (NOTE: One of the two groups so far did ask me during play if certain words would be valid - they used me, and the app, as a resource during their process. Good stuff!)
Round 1 (5 minutes)
Round 2 (10 minutes)
Round 3 (10 minutes)
Round 4 (10 minutes)
Round 5 (5 minutes)
Here are a few observation points and related questions I've used after the two times I presented 3 Down:
Okay team builders, give this one a try. Ask me questions if you need clarification. Call me up if you want to talk about 3 Down. Let's get some more Beta Testing going on this one to see if any changes are needed. THANKS!!
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
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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.