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Knot the Human String (aka) Human Overhand

Knot the Human String (aka) Human Overhand

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Published by David Truss
The goal – For the group to tie an overhand knot in the different colored ribbon without breaking the chain.
The goal – For the group to tie an overhand knot in the different colored ribbon without breaking the chain.

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: David Truss on Sep 07, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Knot the Human String(aka) Human OverhandMedium to large groups Set up – Participants line up, side-by-side, facing front.Ideally, there shouldn’t be more than fifteen participants per line. Provide eachparticipant with a length of ribbon or rope (approximately 18 to 24 inches long).Place the end of one ribbon in a participant’s hand and the other end of the sameribbon in the hand of the person who is standing next to them. In this way, createa human chain: participant – ribbon – participant – ribbon – participant – ribbon – participant – ribbon – participant The ribbon in the middle of the line, should bea different color than the rest of the ribbons.The goal – For the group to tie an overhand knot in the different colored ribbonwithout breaking the chain.Parameters – 1. The appropriate knot is a pure overhand knot (for you knotexperts, this is not an overhand on a bite, nor knot tied around someone’s armor wrist). 2. The chain cannot be broken. Cutting the ribbon or doing bodilyharm to group members is not fair play. 3. Optional parameter turn someparticipants so they are facing a different direction than the rest. This changestheir perspective. Include more than one off-colored ribbon to add to thechallenge. Real Safety Issues – For the most part this activity doesn’t requiresignificant physical effort. However, it does occasionally require participants toenter one another’s personal space. Also, allow participants to shift the ribbon intheir hands rather than twisting wrists in ways they aren’t designed to be twisted.Debrief – This activity can go a number of ways. It often brings up issues ofproblem solving and leadership. Because it appears so simple on the surfaceyet often confounds groups be prepared to debrief groups that don’t successfullycomplete the challenge.Note: This can be very frustrating. Let students struggle for a while then stopthem and show them a knot being tied in a string in slow motion. As corny as itmay sound, “Be the rope!”, can help students think about what needs to getdone.Roles can be dependent on position. Have students switch positions part waythrough. “Did your position on the rope change your involvement?”At a retreat, a group of seven Grade 8’s solved this and then, after practicing abit, came to me and said they could do it in 19 seconds. I asked them to prove itin front of everyone and they pulled it off in 14 seconds! It was like watching adance with each student understanding their role in the choreography.

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