In this activity, the team is tasked with moving 15 ping pong balls from Table #1 to Table #4 without directly touching or lifting the balls, and using only the materials provided.
- 4 tables
- 4 index cards to label the tables
- 2 small boxes
Materials for the challenge:
- 1 piece of masking tape (40cm)
- 1 long cardboard tube (40cm)
- 1 piece of string (40cm)
- 1 paper/plastic cup
- 2 wood rulers
- 5 sheets of paper
- 5 paper clips
- 10 rubber bands
- 20 toothpicks
- 15 ping pong balls
- ½ package of stick-tack
Space Required: Large. Indoors or outdoors.
Group Size: 8 to 12 ideally. With bigger groups, you can split them into smaller teams and prepare one set of resources for each team.
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 15 minutes to brief and setup
- 15 minutes for the activity
- 10 minutes to review and debrief
- Position the 4 tables in a row, with a 1m gap between each table (see diagram for the layout).
- Label the desks with the index cards in numerical order.
- Place the 2 small boxes on Table #1: one of the boxes will hold the 15 ping pong balls while the other will hold the other remaining materials.
Running the Activity
- Explain the activity: The team has to move 15 ping pong balls from Table #1 to Table #4 without touching the balls and using only the materials provided. There is a time limit of 10 minutes, and any ping pong balls that drop to the floor are out of play.
- Scoring system (if there is more than one team participating): Each team will receive 1 point for each ping pong ball on Table #2, 2 points for each ball on Table #3 and 3 points for each ball on Table #4. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
- Once they are ready, the trainer can start the clock for the team to begin the activity,
- At the end of 10 minutes, the activity ends, and the trainer tallies the points. The higher the team score, the better they worked together.
- Only the provided materials can be used during the challenge.
- You have 10 minutes to complete the challenge.
- The 2 wooden rulers and 15 ping pong balls given to the team cannot be changed in any way.
- Participants are not allowed to directly touch or lift the ping pong balls in order to move them.
- Any ping pong balls that fall to the floor are out of play.
- If the team has difficulty moving the ping pong balls or you have a small space to run the activity, you can place the tables closer together.
- To make it more challenging, instruct the team to move each ping pong ball one by one.
Suggested Learning Outcomes
- Problem solving
- Creative thinking
Suggested questions to ask:
- What did you do well? How did you decide on the method of moving the ping pong balls?
- What was your strategy to maximise the points you scored?
- Did any accidents happen during the challenge (i.e. did you lose any ping pong balls?) How did you get back on track? Did you change your strategy?
- Did you identify a leader?
- What leadership skills were demonstrated during the challenge?
- How well did you communicate during the challenge?
- What did you learn from the challenge?
More Team Building Ideas
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