Start with creating teams and showing the start and destination points. Define and describe the rules. Remember that this is a time-limited contest with a prize. Ask for possible questions. Perform the challenge using a stopwatch. Do not disturb the team during the competition. Other teams should keep their distance from the performing team. When the time counts down or the team is successful in ball transportation, write down the time results in a visible place (e.g. black board, projector). Prepare the prize for the winning team. Do a summary, draw the conclusions to show that this challenge is related to having a good leader who will be the warranty of success. The time needed to finish this exercise is about 6 minutes for each team. Additional time is needed for the summary (approx. 15 min).
- Assemble sets of materials for the teams. Prepare at least one set of materials. If you are time-limited, the exercise can be done in parallel, but it demands additional supervisors (one for each team). The set includes a plastic ping-pong ball, a metal ring (e.g. bolt pad) with an internal diameter ca. 40% smaller than the diameter of the ball, a cylindrical pedestal with a diameter few millimetres smaller than the internal diameter of the metal ring and strings. Make sure the path the participants take is clear of obstacles. Other important tools needed for the exercise are:
- Scissors – to cut the string on equal pieces,
- Countdown application or stopwatch – there are plenty on the web or the one in the smartphone can be used,
- Video projector and sound system – projector for rules presentation and showing the stopwatch.
- Sound system for an effective communication with the audience, especially during the challenge,
- Prize – can be a ticket, a book or a small amount of cash.
- Create teams. There will be interesting results both when teams are formed randomly or when teams are created by people who know each other. The size of the team should be 4 to 6 members.
- Present everyone the rules. The ollowing rules apply for the contest:
- Each participant gets one string to operate,
- Participants must hold only the end of the string,
- Participants must stay at a distance of a length of a stretched-out string (very important),
- If the ball falls off the steel ring, the group must start again,
- If the ball falls three times, the team must leave the competition,
- If the pedestal falls over, the group must start again,
- The team is successful when the ball is balanced on the pedestal and the ring is freely resting on the ground with no one holding or stretching a string,
- The time for the challenge is 4 minutes for the distance of about twenty metres from point A to B,
- Ask for questions before the start of each team.
- Start the challenge. Set up the team members in the positions and ensure that every string is stretched. Answer the questions if there are any. Let the team members balance the ring in a horizontal position, then place the ball in the steel ring. Indicate clearly the start of counting the time. Remind the teams about time (e.g. every 30 seconds).
- Finish the challenge. All results must be written down in a well seen place. Identify the winning team – ensure they get a standing ovation and a give them a prize.
- Draw conclusions. Discuss with the teams their feelings related to the contest. What was easy, what was challenging? Focus on leadership, cooperation, strategies, and surprises. Draw conclusions after the competition and discuss them with the group. When a group works together to complete a task, the impact each person has can be profound. In this activity, the ball can be caused to drop if even one person does not do their job well. A team working on a given solution, especially in the case of time-limited tasks, must rely on each other. The team must have a well-defined leader. This person will tell other members of the team what to do, especially during the last phase of transportation, that is putting the ball on pedestal.