Back in April (2016) I sent my FUN Followers a G.E.M. variation of Key Punch (Quicksilver, Rohnke & Butler, 1995) called Key Pad Express. (I've included the download below for those of you not on the FUN-Elist just yet!) I made up Key Pad Express to fit into a Team Olympix (Group Dynamix speak) as a way to change up the original version of touching the numbers (on the floor) in order.
Well, as we know in adventure education, it didn't stop there. My good friend Barry Thompson (co-author with me on CUP IT UP! Teambuilding Activities with Cups - out this Fall), placed an expandable trade show display wall (minus the display) between the odd and even numbers on the floor and required his participants to toss a rubber chicken through the large squares in the wall through the series of number - 1 to 2, 2 to 3 and so on. A handful of us working at Group Dynamix (GroupDynamix.com) took to this version right away loving the "drama" that ensued and the "obstacles" (talking point) that get in the way of our progress.
Again, it didn't stop there. One day I wanted to use the activity with a program but the "wall" was not available. What could I use to toss the object through? A hula-hoop held by one of the participants (pictured above) was the resulting idea. At this point it's my newest Key Pad Express favorite.
Why do I like it? It's a nice timed activity that requires a group to collaborate on a plan of action. Holding the hula-hoop adds another "role" to the activity. The group can time themselves over a number of attempts to fill the allotted program time they have for the activity (it can be an "infinite" activity - fitting into different time frames, as opposed to "finite" activities, like the Human Knot, where the group is ready to move on once completed or is forced to move on even if it wasn't completed). There are also some nice talking points about planning and practice, obstacles, improvement, peak performance, and innovation. Here's how it works:
Set Up Set out your Key Pad numbers (numbered index cards, livestock tags, or poly spots) in a pattern similar to the diagram above - odd numbers on one side of center and evens on the other. The wider the number placement the more challenging the task. Between the odds and evens is something for the hoop-holder to stand on or in (I have access to a large carpet square that works great, but you could use a big hula-hoop or tape a square on the floor). The person assigned to be the hoop-holder will also need a hula-hoop. The smaller the hoop the more challenging the task. Then you will need a tossable object. In the picture above we used a small dodgeball, but a rubber animal is fun too (or other safe tossable of course).
Objective: The tossable object must be thrown through the sequence of numbers in order from 1 to 24 (or 30, or??).
As noted above, allow your group multiple attempts to see what improvements they can make. When I have the time I like to let my groups make as many attempts as they want and stop when they believe they have accomplished their "best" time. I like to ask, "Is this the best this group can do?" It's interesting to see how groups determine what their best can be.
Also noted above, if you have multiple teams participating in some respectful friendly competition, use Thread the Needle as an event. In a 25-minute window have teams plan and practice (after the directions are shared) for five minutes and then give them the next 15 minutes to achieve their best time. I like to chart all times on a white board or flip chart paper so the data is available for everyone to see. I circle the best times for all teams and then assign places.
Let me know how it goes for you! 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.