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Cooperation and Communication

1. Chicken, Foxes and Snakes

group size: minimum 15 participants
time: ca. 30 minutes
material: none
needed space: outside
objective: Communication, knowledge of others and cooperation.
short instruction: Members of 3 groups try to catch their prey without being prey to another.

Description: The big group gets divided into three small groups: chicken, foxes and snakes. The chicken eat the snakes, the snakes eat the foxes, and the foxes eat the chicken. Then the leader counts to 3 and lets everybody run around chasing after their prey while trying to stay clear of their predators. If a player is caught, then they join their predators‘ group. At the end of the game the group with the most players wins.

2. Building a Bridge

group size: 8 – 20 participants
time: ca. 60 minutes
materials: cardboard, glue, cup, paper, marker pens
needed space: if possible one room per group
objective: Establishing confidence among the participants and create a positive group dynamic
short instruction: Two groups get the task to build a bridge.

Description: Two groups are formed. They are given the same task, but are separated in two rooms and only allowed to communicate by writing letters. Their task is to build a bridge out of cardboard that can carry an empty cup. After the planning period the two groups come together in one room and each starts the construction of the bride from its own side. In the end the leader puts the cup on the bridge for testing the construction.
Evaluation: During a joint discussion and analysis of the exercise in front of the whole group, mistakes and lapses during the planning and execution of the exercise can be recognized. Patterns of communication and behavior within the group are revealed as well as the capability and willingness of participants to communicate with external collaborators.

3. Gordian Knot

group size: at least 6
time: ca. 5 - 10 minutes
material: none
needed space: outside or enough space for the group to stand in a circle
objective: developing strategies for solving problems in a group, ice breaker
short instruction: group dynamic game, which requires communication and respect towards each other

Description: All participants stand in a circle and close their eyes. Now they all put their arms up and move towards the center of the circle with outstretched hands. Everyone should take hold of two other hands in the group so that everyone is holding two hands. Now
everyone opens their eyes. Without letting go of one another’s hand the group has to try to untie the knot of people so that everyone is standing in one large linked circle or in two small circles. The leader also can choose one participant in the beginning which stands outside the circle and helps the group to undo the knot.

4. Building a Tower

group size: at least with 3 participants per group, at least 3 groups
time: ca. 60 minutes
material: per group 10 sheets of white DIN-A4-Paper, one scissor, one glue stick, one ruler, one piece of adhesive tape (about 120 cm), one pen, colored paper for the sketch (this is not to be used for building)
needed space: If possible one room per group
objective: to find roles in groups, cooperation
short instruction: Small groups build a tower with given materials and certain criteria

Description: The participants are divided into small groups, each group three to six participants. The task of each group is to build a high and nicely shaped tower with the given materials. The tower should be stable enough to carry a ruler on top of it. The groups have only 20 minutes to build the tower. The participants are allowed to talk to and help each other. Afterwards the height and the creativity of the towers will be rated. The leader also tests the stability of the towers by putting a ruler on the top of the tower. The Tower must not break. Evaluation: First within each group the participants discuss and reflect the exercise. Afterwards all participants meet in the big group and talk about the positive and negative experiences.
Possible key questions: Which feelings did you have during the exercise? Did the group work in a team? Was the process useful and effective? How did the participants behave? What did you learn for group work in future?

5. Spider‘s Web

group size: 6 to 8 participants
time: ca. 15–30 minutes
material: (climbing) rope
needed space: possible for inside and outside, 2 trees or poles needed to fix the spider‘s web
objective: Cooperation and communication
short instruction: The group has to get through the spider web without touching it.

Description: With a rope (or a barrier tape) a spider web is fixed between two trees or poles. The web should have six to eight spaces (depending on the number of participants). The participants‘ task is to get the whole group through the web to the other side. Each space
can only be used once. If one participant touches the web all participants have to go back to the start. Evaluati on: Discussion with the group about the exercise. E.g. what worked well during the exercise? Did everyone work together? Who did a lot and who maybe did only a little bit? What worked well in the group and what does the group still have to learn? With these questions the participants should start to think about their own mistakes and abilities and those of the others and reflect the exercise.