Leadership Inspirations Activities

Pathfinder

Get from one side of the grid to the other side by discovering a “safe path”

Duration

30-45 minutes

Team Stage

Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity

Materials

Floor Markers (Paper Plates, Tape, Chalk, Paper, Etc.), Solution Map

 

SUMMARY

Team members work to move across a grid using the one and only safe path. Through trial and error, the participants must work together to discover the “correct” or “safe path.” The goal of the activity is for your entire team to safely reach the other side of the maze by finding and following the one and only true path through the squares. Your group must decide how long it will take them to do this and work to beat that time.

SET UP

  • Arrange 40 floor markers in a grid with a 5-column, 8-row profile. Space each marker 6 to 12 inches apart.
  • Create a master “map” of the grid with the safe path through clearly marked. You can make the path as simple or complicated as you wish.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Ask the group to stand at one end of the grid to begin. Have your master “safe-path” map ready and look over it before you start.
  • Tell the group that their objective is to navigate the grid in front of them along the one and only ‘safe path’ as quickly as possible. They must get everyone in their group from one side to the other.
  • Only one person may be in the grid at a time. If more than one person is on the grid add a time penalty of 45 seconds.
  • There are squares in the grid that are “safe” and ones that are not. The facilitator will inform whoever is in the grid if they have made a correct or incorrect move.
  • If a participant steps on a square that is not part of the predetermined safe path, he or she must leave the grid along the same path in which they entered. The team will incur a time penalty of 60 additional seconds to the overall time for each incorrect exit.
  • If a participant steps on a square that is safe they may remain in the grid. Their next choice may be any adjacent square. The path will not skip rows or columns.
  • The path can go in any direction – forwards, backwards, left, right, or diagonally.
  • The group cannot leave “breadcrumbs” or alter the path in any way to mark the way.
  • Each person must have a chance on the grid before anyone goes twice.
  • Once the activity begins and someone has entered the grid, the rest of the team must remain behind the start of the grid.
  • Facilitator Note: Keep time and keep track of penalties. Also make sure to be very attentive in this activity and follow group members along as they move through the grid so you can tell them if they are making correct or incorrect movements.

VARIATIONS

  • Increase the size of the grid by adding more squares.
  • No one is allowed to talk while a person is in the grid. They may only talk to strategize or plan when no one is in the grid.
  • The team cannot use any form of “pointing” to help a team member in the grid. For each instance of pointing, by hand, head or foot, the team will incur a 15 second penalty to be added to the overall time.

SAMPLE DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS

What?
  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?

Accountability

  • What are you currently accountable for as an individual and a group?
  • Who holds you accountable? What is effective accountability? Are our methods as a group effective?
  • What role do you play in your own accountability and the group accountability?

Project Planning

  • What has worked in other projects you have done? How have you dealt with setbacks?
  • How do you connect with the process of planning? Do you like it/not like it? How does this impact you/your group?
  • How do we manage our time? How does that affect our ability to complete our projects?

Teambuilding

  • When has your group worked well together in the past? When have they not worked well together?
  • When has (something that happened in the activity) happened in the past with your group?
  • What habits or actions make a successful or effective team? What does your group do well as a team? What are your group’s opportunities for growth when working together?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?