This is the best activity to use when the participant’s energy levels are a bit low or after doing an intense activity and a bit of light relief would help. It may also help a group to be more creative. Best suited for groups of six to twelve people.
- Enliven and excite the group
- Two spoons or pens or markers
Step By Step Instructions
- Have the group (including the facilitator) sit in a circle of chairs (not behind desks!) where you can all see each other clearly.
- Let everyone know that you are going to pass two spoons or pens or markers around the group.
- Inform them there is one simple, unchanging rule that determines whether someone passes the objects to the next person “crossed” or “uncrossed”.
- The goal of the game is to work out what the rule is.
- You pass them, see 8 below, and say whether they are crossed or uncrossed.
- When the next person passes them on, you say again whether they are crossed or uncrossed but not why.
- When someone works out the rule, she or he should continue to pass the objects and say whether they are crossed or uncrossed until everybody has worked out what the rule is.
- The rule is that the objects are passed “crossed” if the person passing them has her or his legs, or ankles, crossed and “uncrossed” if they are not. Note what people do with the objects is irrelevant!
This can be an intensely frustrating game for people, usually very intelligent people, who don’t get it. If you judge the frustration level is getting too high, then drop a few gentle hints like saying you are in two minds about whether the “spoons” are crossed or uncrossed while crossing and uncrossing your legs!
It is certainly time to do this if people are laughing at the person who is stuck rather than with him or her.
When you are done, you may want to have a brief discussion about lateral thinking and/or hear about the increasingly desperate hypotheses some people were imagining for the rule.