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Walking Planks




Planks from Mentor Closet, Open Space


15-20 minutes


To develop and evaluate communication skills, and teamwork.


Determine a route that the students must navigate on the planks by setting up cones or obstacles that the group must maneuver around. Instruct students to stand on the planks (one foot on each).  Tell them they must successfully get from point A to point B following a certain path.

Each obstacle on the course can represent an obstacle that the students could face in their first year in College. (ex. Homesickness, Time/Self Management Problems from balancing academic and social life, Roommate Conflicts, Academic Pressure from Midterms, Finals, Papers and Projects) The students need to work as a group to get around these obstacles.       


1.   Do not set a path.  Tell students to get from point A to point B but do not tell them the route they must take. This is a good way to start this activity so the students can start working as a group and communicating.

2.   Allow certain people to talk and others not too.  You can silence and un-silence people throughout the activity. If there are some who talk and lead everyone, see how the group reacts if their leader is silenced. If you’re working in a group for a class would you step up if there wasn’t a leader?

3.   Have every other student face the opposite direction.  This could become a rule midway through the activity if the group seems to be doing well with the strategy of “right, left, right, left.” In college there are many challenges that will arise. It is important to keep working towards your goal even when you’re faced with new obstacles.


Was this easy or difficult?
Do you think you communicated effectively? Did you take on a leadership role or did you follow the group?
How did it feel if you were silenced? How did you react when your leader was silenced?
How could you have been better communicators?
What obstacles did you face? What are some ways to avoid these obstacles in your college life?

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