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Team Working Activity? Plastic sheet – Can you help?


Some years ago we conducted an activity where 6-8 people stood on a small plastic sheet about 4ftx4ft and the objective was to turn the sheet over without stepping off the sheet - I can't recall the solution to this activity. Does anyone know please? If I recall it was a series of careful folds.
David Evans

2 Responses

  1. easy solution
    Hi David
    I have used the exercise a number of times – and the solution depends how many people are in the team, and the physical fitness of the team members.

    Is the solution really important?

    As the task is usually to explore the approach and attitudes of team members. I often find with this type of ‘quick’ puzzle, the best thing is to finish the exercise after x minutes, debrief and move on. Often the team will work informally throughout the breaks in the programme to solve the problem. To me this is much more powerful than giving the solution.

  2. Plastic Sheet solution
    I have seen a variety of solutions from groups. The most common is to huddle together tightly in one corner. One person reaches over and pulls up the furthermost corner and turns it over as close to the huddle as possible. One person then steps on to it. As they do so, they create more room around the huddle so the turned corner can then get bigger, allowing the next person to step on the new piece, and so on until all members are on the ‘right’ side.

    The size of the sheet (I use a heavy piece of canvas) should be based on the size of the group – too big and the task is too easy, too small and people are having to be gymnasts. A good way to measure this is to cut the sheet to a size that everyone can stand on it quite closely shoulder to shoulder – this will create enough room, when they huddle together, to allow one corner to be turned. The piece should be square, not a rectangle.


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