Sky Bottle Commander
- 10 – 12 water bottle per group (for this activity the water bottles must have a “loop” or something that can easily be hooked and picked up)
- 5 or 6 – 8 to 10-foot lengths of rope
- 1 “S” hook or hooks, an open carabiner, or a stick that has a good hook to it; in a pinch, Duct tape works.
- I have used many creative alternatives; test out some ideas and use what is readily at hand.
- 10 – 15 per team
Before beginning this activity, create a large boundary area called “bottle zone.” The area should be just large enough for the ropes to cross the center and still have space for a team member to hold the end and freely maneuver their way around the outside of the boundary.
Approximately 5 feet away from the boundary create a small square called “square drop” using ropes or masking tape etc…
Create a third boundary zone called the “planning zone,” large enough for all the team members to stand in comfortably. The “planning zone” should be far enough away from the “bottle zone” that team members are standing within the “planning zone” cannot clearly see the “bottle zone” with the water bottles.
Place the teams’ water bottles within the “bottle zone” at various distances from the center. Place the ropes and the hooks outside the “planning zone.”
Ask the team to stand inside the “planning zone.”
The team is going to have 25 minutes to complete this activity. Completion is removing all the water bottles from the “bottle zone” and placing the bottles in “square drop.”
Show the team the resources, the ropes, and the hook. The team is going to retrieve as many bottles from the “bottle zone” and place them into the “square zone” using only the supplies that they have. The team may not move the boundary ropes, physically enter the “bottle zone” or “square drop,” and team members cannot touch the water bottles at any time.
One last thing – outside of “planning zone” no verbal communication is permitted. The only time any team member may speak and use verbal communication is within the “planning zone.”
The group may enter the “planning zone” as many times as it pleases and may remain within the “planning zone” for as long as it wishes. Once one person enters the “planning zone” the entire team must also enter the “planning zone.”
Additionally, they may send as many or as few team members as it wishes to work within the “bottle zone” and “square drop.” Sometimes I only tell them this part if they ask.
The 25-minutes start when you say “Go.”
Learning & Application Questions:
- What was your first reaction to this activity?
- What was easy?
- How were decisions made?
- Who did not understand what was being asked?
- Who still is confused about the activity?
- What was the goal?
- Was it accomplished?
- When did the team abandon its plan?
- Describe the communication?
- What were some creative solutions?
- In what ways did the team plan?
- What forms of communication worked? How? How else? How else?
- In what ways were the behaviors of this activity like the behavior of the individuals on the team in (life, work, school, etc…)?
- What was successful about this activity that can enhance the team’s effectiveness?
- How can we use this in your lives?
- What is each of you willing to do, to ensure that the team continues to communicate and make challenging decisions?
This can be confusing. The team has time to complete the initiative. By banning verbal communication outside the “planning zone”, the team must develop some sort of plan before it even begins.
It is important to have the “bottle zone” far enough away from the “planning zone” so that the team cannot see and create too good a plan for success.
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