Purpose: Build communication skills
Overview: Without talking, assemble in chronological birthday order.
Time: 15-30 minutes.
Group Size: at least 6
1. Facilitator instructs team to stand on balance beam (piece of wood or long sheet of paper can
2. Facilitator then indicates that from this point on there should be no talking. If there is talking
the group must go back to original positions. If a person falls off balance beam or steps off
wood/paper group must go back to original order.
3. Facilitator instructs group to order themselves in birthday order.
4. Group must use different strategies to reorder themselves. When the group feels that they are
in the correct order, they vocally tell facilitator their birthdays to see if they are right.
Materials: Blind fold for each participant
A group of 7-12 people who are blindfolded must get in sequential order without talking after
each person is given a specific number that they are to represent
1. You may not talk.
2. You need to move slowly.
3. As facilitator, I am sharing responsibility for your safety and will redirect you to your group and
to a safe area if you are moving away from the group.
4. As facilitator, I will check in with you after your group has formed a line. I will ask you "without
talking, check with the person on either side of you to verify that you are in the right order". I will
then ask you to raise your hand if you know that your are in the right order. If you are all in
agreement, then we will count off. If you are not sure, then we will continue.
1. Pay close attention to how people are physically interacting with each other to in sure that
appropriate touch and regard are being shown. If someone is not being appropriate, immediately
pull him/her aside discretely and encourage a different approach.
2. Provide encouragement every few minutes by describing what you see.
"You now have two groups of three people who have found each other arid are in order and you
have 5 people who are on their own moving around and one person who is standing still." This
gives them information to keep them going without directing their experience.
If you see significant frustration taking place, encourage them to use persistence and stay the
course. "You all are so close. You have one line that's in a circular formation and two people who
are moving across the line right now."
3. If time permits, let the group know that if they are not in the right order when they take off
the blindfolds, that "we will try it again." This helps the group to stay the course and focus their
4. Be sure to have them keep on their blindfolds as they start the count in the end. This adds to
the anticipation and discovery.
PROCESSING OF EXPERIENCE:
With this activity more than others, people burst into natural conversation about the experience
right after they take off their blindfolds. They tend to seek out people who they weren't sure off
when blindfolded. They recount events of the activity and laugh about what they have shared.
Enjoy listening to their comments and after three or four minutes take one of their comments as
a bridge for moving into the debriefing experience.
What did you do initially to solve this challenge? Did your approach change Over time? If so how
and why? How would you describe what happened over time within yourself and the group? What
was it like to be on your own? What was it like to find the right person? Where there any leaders
during this process? How did they lead? How did you communicate and what did you notice about
the communication of others? Did anyone change his or her communication approach? Why? How
did this change impact on the group? Did anyone want to give up? Tell us about it... What helped
you to keep going?
What did it take to be successful as individuals and as a group in this activity? How connections
might we make between Blind Count and our situations at home? What principles might we take
back to our situation that could help us in our work?
Cows, Ducks and Chickens
Find other people who are the same animal as you.
1. Have participants form a circle.
2. Give each person a slip with an animal's name or whisper the name of an animal to each
3. Depending on the age of the participants, you can blindfold each person or simply let them use
their eyes and ears.
4. Participants are instructed that they are to find the other members of their family using only
the sounds that they make as animals. Give examples If you are a cow, what sound do you
make? If you are a duck, what sound do you make? Give out different animals, so that individuals
are challenged. Adults: 3-9 people per animal. Primary Students: 3 people per animal --use eyes
and ears. Intermediate Students: 5 people-blind folded. Make sure that the animals you select
have familiar sounds.
PROCESSING OF EXPERIENCE:
What was it like when you were by your self? How did you feel once you found another animal
like you? This was a game but have you ever felt this way at school? What animals or groups do
you see at school? . or in our class? What can we do as a class to help everyone feel like they
belong and have someone like them in our class?
Do You Trust Me?
Purpose: Create an environment of trust and comfort.
Overview: one person in a pair has his/her eyes close and is led around by his/her partner’s
Time: About 20 minutes.
Group Size: at least 2
1. Students are asked to pair up and create two even lines with partners facing each other. If you
want to have students take a risk, after they have partnered up move students around so that
they are partnered with someone they did not originally pick.
2. One line of students is asked to close their eyes and stick out their right pointer finger. The
other line of students is asked to keep their eyes open and press the tip of their right pointer
finger to the tip of their partner’s pointer finger.
3. Without talking, the students with their eyes open must lead the students with their eyes
closed around the room by their pointer finger. Facilitator can give directions on how and where
partners should go such as “go forward” “Go backward” “try turning your partner in a circle”.
Once 3 minutes of leading has expired. The partners switch roles.
4. Safety is key! Do not lead your partner into chairs, tables, walls, or other partners.
5. After both partners have assumed leading and following positions. The facilitator asks partners
to find a comfortable place to sit down. Each partner then has 3 minutes to share a story about
trust. The story can be as profound or silly as they trust their partner to hear. Partners do not
respond to each other’s stories, only listen.
6. Once both partners have shared their stories, the group comes back together for a sharing out.
Each person is to fill in the blank about their partner based upon what they heard in the story.
Now I know that Annie is _____________. (Fill in the blank with strong, funny, courageous, etc).
The mine walk consists of a winding pathway or two ropes/tape. There are objects (representing
obstacles to Powerful Learning) that are placed along the pathway. The challenge is for the group
is to stay connected at all times and to make it from the desert to the Center for Powerful
Learning without touching the ropes/tape, any of the obstacles, or stepping outside the boundary.
1. Ask the group to identify obstacles to powerful learning. (Write these on a flip chart)
2. Ask the group to select the 6 most challenging obstacles.
3. After the group selects the most challenging obstacles, ask them to look at the available
objects and select objects that best symbolize the obstacles they have identified
4. Place these objects (or some of the objects while the facilitator places the others) in the
path through the minefield or let members of the group do so. (How often do we place
our own obstacles?)
5. Invite the group to join you in the desert at one end of the minefield. Explain that all in
front of them is a minefield. The only way to pass is through is by way of the path
determined by the rope/tape.
6. Point out the Center of Powerful Learning and ask the group if they would like to go there.
7. Explain the following rules:
a. All members of the group must stay connected while moving through the minefield
path until they reach the Center of Powerful Learning.
b. If any group member touches any obstacle, steps on the boundary, or steps off the
path, the entire group must return to the desert.
c. Just as in any other group, there are individuals with additional challenges.
i. 2 members of the group cannot speak
ii. 6 members of the group cannot see
iii. 2 members of the group cannot walk
8. Ask one or two members of the group to be observer/recorders. Their job is to watch the
group interact and record their observations.
9. The facilitator (or group member) should monitor the group for “infractions”. (stepping out
of bounds, touching objects, disconnecting, etc.)
Process of Experience:
What new challenges did you face in the mine walk?
What did you notice about the work of your group in the beginning, middle, and end?
What happened when you were not successful initially?
How would you describe your communication throughout the experience?
Who served as leaders and how did they lead?
Did you reach a point of discouragement? Did that change? What contributed to the
How does the min walk experience relate to our work back home as we think about
moving to powerful learning experiences in our classrooms and schools?
What might we intentionally do to support each other and our colleagues given our
experiences with the mine walk?