Survival & Cooperation

Objective: Students must work as a unit, wanting everyone in the group to succeed, to successfully complete the project using critical thinking with a physical activity.

Resources: Teacher: Large diameter rope hanging from gymnasium ceiling or tree outside; a means of marking off an area around the rope. Students: none.
Teacher Preparation: Around the rope mark off an area approximately 6 to 8 feet in diameter, using gym mats, tape on the floor, whatever you can find to indicate an area not to be touched. No one should be able to reach the rope from outside the boundary.

1. Explain to the class they are stranded on one side of a ravine, with the rope being the only means to get across. The goal is to get the entire class across safely to the other side, emphasizing that if one fails, they all fail.
2. Give them no suggestions on how to reach the rope.
3. Exercise is complete when everyone has made it safely across.

The Solution: Students will likely use some combination of shoelaces, belts, etc. to initially snag the rope to pull it toward themselves. The rope is then passed back to the waiting students after a student successfully swings across.

Variations/Options: Adjust the distance around the rope larger or smaller to accommodate your students’ age or physical abilities.