The Keys to Staying on Track
Spatial Requirements: Classroom with moderate space required
Activity Type: Movement/group
Group Size: 10 or more
Time: 30 minutes
Introduction: Individuals involved in self-defeating behaviors do not understand the impact they have on themselves, their family, their co-workers, their school, and on society. Self-defeating behaviors are easy, but doors will open to the person who takes the harder but worth it track and strives to achieve ambitions, dreams, and goals. Opportunity, freedom, and self-respect will follow. This activity demonstrates that what is not always easy is worth it in the long run.
- 30 3x5 cards with the same number on both sides (from 1 to 30)
- Masking tape
- Timer/stop watch
- Whiteboard and markers
- Permanent marker
To prepare for this activity, set up a rectangular shape (12’ by 24’) on the floor with the masking tape. Place the numbered 3x5 cards on the floor in random order with the even numbers placed on one half of the rectangle, and the odd numbers placed on the other half (as shown in the chart on the following page). Set this up in an area where the group cannot see it until they start the activity. Make a start/finish line 20 feet away from the rectangle with masking tape. Explain the activity in another room by drawing the rectangle with a few numbers inside on the whiteboard as an example. Do not tell them that there are 30 numbers. Tell the following story to set the stage for the activity:
Your group has been selected to compete for a contract to build a railroad to connect the tip of South America to Alaska. The people awarding the contract have come up with an activity to test your ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines, work as a team, and solve problems. Each member of the group needs to touch the numbered cardstock (the cardstock represents railroad ties) in numerical order (1 through 30). One player runs in and touches the # 1 and comes back out. The second player runs in and touches # 2 and comes back out, etc. Each member of the group needs to touch at least one of the numbers. There can only be one group member inside the rectangle at a time. A 10-second penalty will be added for: a number touched out of order, two people in the rectangle at the same time, or a person in the group not touching a number. In order for the group to get the contract, they need to do the activity in less than one minute and 25 seconds. They have four attempts to get the contract. Give the group three to five minutes to plan the activity without you in the room. After the planning is over, bring the group to the starting line and ask if there are any final questions. Start the group and start the timer.
Notes to the facilitator:
As the group is going through the activity, keep track of penalties. Stop the timer when the last person in the group is over the starting/ending line. Give the group their time and penalties, and allow three to four minutes to process. Start the processing by asking the group what they learned and what they can do better. Continue for three more attempts. After the fourth attempt, or when they get under the 1:25, process the activity.
Processing the Experience:
- What were some of the challenges of the task?
- Did you make the same mistake more than once? What was it?
- What mistakes did you correct in the activity?
- What type of teamwork was displayed in the activity?
- By accomplishing your goal, what kind of opportunities were opened up for your group?
- What consequences came as a result of penalties?
- What would have happened if a member of the group said, “This is stupid and I am not going to do it?”
- What motivated you to stay with the activity and not quit or give up?
- How do our choices in life affect others?
- What challenges do you face in your life?
- What were some of the principles that helped you accomplish the task?
- How would these principles help you on the path to opportunity, freedom, and self-respect?