Knots is a game that requires students to solve a physical dilemma. In this activity, students need to use spatial skills to try and unravel a human knot made by the connection of the arms across a standing circle. To be successful, students must engage in physical contact, be aware of physical limitations, and work together to solve a challenging problem.
Invite students to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in a circle. Each participant puts both of their hands in the center and grabs any two hands that 1) don’t belong to somebody right next to them, and 2) belong to two different people. Once all the hands have been grabbed across the circle, the group should be tied together in a large knot. One way to test this is to pass a hand squeeze around the knot; everyone should get the squeeze exactly once. Without letting go of the other students’ hands, the group must untangle the knot. If the group is large, divide up into two or three circles and play simultaneously.
On a scale of 1-10 how did you do? What did you notice about yourself? What did you notice about the group?
What did you have to do to untangle yourselves?How were decisions made within your group?
What skills did you have to use in this activity? In what other situations might these skills be useful?
Who can see what needs to happen next?
If one idea doesn’t work, try another tactic.
Remember to be safe with the movement and flexibility of other’s bodies.
Have the group untangle the knot silently using only non-verbal cues.
Invite one person to stay outside the knot and work to help unknot the group.
READING/WRITING and SOCIAL STUDIES: Explore themes of entanglement from literature or history. Explore ally relationships or the ways complicated systems are entwined.
Boal, Augusto. Games for Actors and Non-Actors. 2nd ed. Trans. Adrian Jackson. New York: Routledge, 2002. Print.