As some of you might know, my friend Barry Thompson and I are working on a team building activity eBook called Cup It Up: Teambuilding with Cups! (Without Beer). We have delayed the release as we finish up some additions, changes and edits (thanks to some incredible feedback). Our goal is to have it ready before the end of the year! (Fingers crossed.)
In the meantime, I want to share this brand new cup activity, Flip Flop Tower. We are not putting this one into the book so it's a perfect bonus and teaser to demonstrate the power of (sober) 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" - I'll share this version in a future post after I lead it a few more times.
Let me know how this version goes!! Leave a comment below.
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
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.