A Knotty Situation
Have you ever had to untangle a necklace, or hair ties, rope or Christmas lights? If you have, then you can do today’s activity!
Divide students into groups of 6 or 8 (must be an even number). Arrange each group in a tight circle. All should extend their right hand and grab the hand of someone opposite them in the circle. Then each should use their left hand to grab someone else’s left hand. The group now must untangle themselves into a circle without letting go of the hands. (If you have an odd number, one person can act as coach for a single group or be a commentator for the whole group and do a play-by-play announcement of each group’s progress.) When the game is over, discuss the importance of patience in working out the problem and what motivated them to keep going when it got tough. Be aware that depending on how they grab hands, a single group may end up in two circles. This activity requires that students be in close proximity to each other. Some students may not be comfortable with the closeness required. In addition, older groups may not be comfortable mixing the sexes within a group so you may need to separate the boys from the girls.
To process this activity, ask these questions:
- Did you have fun trying to untangle the group?
- Did you think it was going to be difficult when you first started?
- How did patience help untangle the group?
- Was anyone an “untangle master” that was able to lead the group?
- What happened when everyone was making suggestions at once?
- When you are faced with a difficult situation, will you remember the untangling and be patient?