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Collaboration Games: The Human Knot

Sometimes it’s the simple games and the ones we’ve played over and over again that can offer the most learning. Take The Human Knot. It’s a game that’s been played in playgrounds, camps, and drama classes everywhere. But at its heart, it’s a collaboration game. Once the knot is achieved, how do your students work together to undo the knot? Are they able to communicate with each other without resorting to commands? Are they able to negotiate?


Instructions

Goal: Undo the knot without letting go of hands

  1. Get students into a circle. Everyone stands shoulder to shoulder. You can also do this in smaller groups and add a competition aspect.
  2. Everyone lifts their right hand.
  3. Everyone grabs the hand of someone else in the circle. They cannot hold hands with the person next to them.
  4. Everyone lifts their left hand.
  5. Everyone grabs the hand of someone else in the circle. (Not the same person as with the right hand.) They cannot hold hands with the person next to them.
  6. The group has to untangle the knot without letting go of anyone’s hand.
  7. Repeat the exercise and this time instruct students that they can’t talk. All communication has to be non-verbal.
Click here for a downloadable PDF of this exercise with additional Observation notes and Reflection questions!
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