Electric Fence

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Electric Fence
Topic Teamwork
Group Size 1-10
Prep Time 0-20 min
Setting Outdoors
Age Group Any
The Point How to work together as a team and problem solving

Back to Experiential Learning

Supplies Needed

  • 2 trees or sturdy posts,
  • 1 20ft or longer rope

How to Set Up

Find 2 posts or trees at least 4 feet apart but not much longer than 10 feet and tie a rope about 4-6ft high (depending on the height and physical abilities of your group) and parallel to the ground. I usually tie 1 hard knot at one end and 1 slip knot on the other end. That way if someone really gets caught on the rope it will give and untie so that there are no rope burns or worse and you will still know that they touched the rope.

There is an element of danger, so you will have to be aware of the risks of your environment like sticks on the ground or low branches or rocks. You will also need to prepare your group so that they will not try any dangerous stunts and so that they will think first before attempting this task. Make sure you eliminate any ideas of individuals "high jumping" over the rope as this is very dangerous and usually ends up with back injuries. Also eliminate the idea of "throwing" or catapulting team members over the rope because this usually ends up with your smallest team member hitting the tree, getting thrown into the rope, or going really high and then coming back down with a thud and a hospital run.

What Happens Then

Tell the group a story (age appropriate) about how you are escaping from prison and there is one more obstacle between your group and freedom. They will need to get their entire team over the rope without touching it. You may even give them a time limit and/or punish them for every time they do touch the rope.

Emphasize thinking and acting as a team. All types of groups can accomplish this task if they work together both physically and mentally. If you feel they need some assistance, ask questions like:

  • who should go first and last?
  • who should be helping people over the fence?
  • can you see any potential problems or dangers with this method?
  • how can you get team members over safely?

Or make suggestions of your own if their ideas are ineffective or especially if they are dangerous. It's okay if they do not succeed immediately, but you will need to make sure that they are acting safely.

Possible Problems

Safety. This is a simple task with several methods of accomplishing it that are all effective. Guide them to these and away from the more maverick and dangerous methods. The leader needs to be involved in the strategy process so that he/she is aware of any potential problems or dangers.

This game also has some self-consciousness issues. You will probably have some people in your group who will have issues participating in this game because of a perceived lack of physical abilities or fitness. You will need to be sensitive to this and anticipate it. If I have someone who is limited, injured or that I know will not want to attempt to go over the fence, then I will designate that person as captain of the team and allow them to avoid going over the fence while still participating in the event.

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