Props: Just Your Group!
Focus: Cooperation I Communication
Credit: Kimball Camp YMCA
Draw two lines on the ground at least ten feet apart. Tell the group that they have been sent out ,y fun to say, Giant Hootenerainataneous (henceforth referred to as Hoot ). These creatures are exceptionally rare, and what few expeditions who have discovered them were wiped out (these things are VERY mean!). Your International Geographic into deepest darkest Africa to photograph the mythical, the vicious, the incredibly group, exceptionally brilliant as they are, accept the challenge, and head off into the jungle. Within a week, they discover (oh joy!) the lair of a Hoot! They explore the inside, find remnants of family and friends who were on other expeditions, and get to study Hoot dooky! (Grody! But then again, you’re scientists and “guano of the world” is your specialty!) You complete your studies, take priceless photos, and prepare to leave. The photographs you have will bring you a paycheck which could pay off the National Debt, but it is a shame you didn’t actually get to see a Hoot. Well, wait! You’re in luck! Between you and the front of the cave, apparently coming back from a failed hunting trip, ravenously hungry and not just a little irate at having found company before it had a chance to clean, stands a Hoot! (Instinctively, you shoot pictures!) Now, however you have a slight problem. You need to get out. You only have a few seconds (give them as long as they need) to save your hides. You must quickly assemble yourselves into a Hoot and walk to the entrance, because Hoots, as nasty as they are, would never pick on another Hoot. It’s a slim chance, but it’s all you have.
Finally, here are the rules…
1. You are allowed to have only one Hoot. (If there are two, the first will feel threatened and immediately attack.)
2. No weapons are magically allowed. (Remember: You as facilitator must preserve nature!)
3. No heroic sacrifices! ( Save yourselves! I’ll buy you some time! )
4. Everyone must be connected to each other somehow. (Fingertips touching counts.)
5. Everyone must make the noise. (This is the fun part!)
6. If one person fails, everyone starts over. (This Hoot is daft as a brush, but very, very ravenous.)
7. The Hoot (is everyone paying attention?) has two legs less than the number of people in the group. (In other words, 12 people have 24 legs but can only have 10 of them touching the ground!)
Note: This activity can be dangerous (you’ll see some interesting configurations) and has the potential of creating group ill-will. It is a fairly difficult activity. Watch closely. Don’t use this one as a starting activity. It will become too frustrating to a group which cannot communicate effectively. (I almost had ADULTS coming to blows on this activity, to give you some idea!)
Also, it’s your call to decide what a foot is. My rule of thumb (or foot) is that a foot is a foot. Anyone laying on the ground saying, “I have no feet touching the ground”‘ automatically counts as about 7 feet. Putting your feet together doesn’t count, it’s just two feet side by side. If you put one foot on top of another, that would work. Facilitator, it’s your call! (Don’t be too nice. They can always come back later if they wish.)
Communication. Groups will divide along gender lines and each try to create a Hoot without the other. Twelve people will have the solution and be willing to share it at exactly the same time! Cooperation. This takes a LOT of teamwork to finish the task.
Look at the situation and figure it out for yourself. You should have the hang of it by now! If they do fail, you should discuss the difference between tasks and goals, and see if they met their goal without accomplishing the task (or vice versa).
Watch for dangerous configurations. Watch, also, for tempers! Groups can get easily frustrated by the discussion phase of this activity. Avoid putting too much weight on one person. Remember: if it looks unsafe, it probably is…