Leadership Inspirations Activities

Electric Fence

Get your entire team over the fence without being “electrocuted”  

Duration

20-30 minutes

Team Stage

Storming, Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity

Materials

Rope or string, anchors (chairs, trees etc.) 

 

SUMMARY

 

In this activity, groups must try to get their entire team over the “electric fence” without touching it. It requires groups to trust and support each other while also thinking creatively about how to solve the problem.

 

SET UP

  • Set up your electric fence by tying a rope or string between two anchors. The rope should be about waist high.
  • If you have a larger group (over 15 participants), you may want to set up two fences. 
  • Gather participants on one side of the rope. 
  • Safety: Encourage safety and spotting! If anyone has any physical limitations or injuries, they should not participate in this activity.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Tell participants that the rope represents an electric fence.
  • Their task is to get their group from one side of the electric fence to the other without touching the rope. Touching the rope means the group has been “electrocuted” and must restart.
  • They cannot go under or simply walk around the anchors. 
  • No other supplies or tools may be used. 
  • They must be touching a fellow teammate with one hand at all times. If they lose contact at any time, they must start over.

VARIATIONS

  • Instead of having group members hold onto each other, you may give them a rope “lifeline” that everyone must hold onto with one hand at all times. If they let go of the lifeline, they must start over. This is a good variation for groups who aren’t very comfortable with physical touch or closeness. 
  • The taller the fence, the harder the activity. Lead a few rounds of this activity, starting with a lower fence and then increasing the height. 
  • Split your group in two. Put one group on either side of the fence. Their objective is to switch places. All other rules still apply.

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?

Group Dynamics 

  • What are the traits that make someone successful on this team? What are the traits that make someone unsuccessful on this team?
  • What motivates our group?
  • How does our group dynamic affect the way we get work done?

Inclusion & Involvement

  • What does it mean to be inclusive or exclusive?
  • What did we do as a group that was inclusive? That was exclusive/not inclusive?
  • Why is inclusion and involvement important for our group?

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?

 

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?