Do you work with a team that relies on strong communication and collaboration? The knot exchange is a great way to simulate the challenges of collaborating on tasks and projects, and develop strategies for success!
Time: 30 Minutes
Materials: One 3-4′ string for each participant (silky cord works best for this activity)*
Good for: Teambuilding, Communication, Creativity
Works well for: Groups, Teams of at least 5-10
- Divide participants into groups of 5-6.
- Set up a knot “star” for each group with the same number of strings as participants in that group.
- Once the group is standing around the star, each participant picks up the ends of two neighboring strings, one in each hand.
- Each group is given three minutes to create a knot with their strings by moving around each other but never letting go of the string ends.
- When time is called, each group carefully sets down their knot in the same way it was picked up, with the string ends towards the outside.
- The groups then switch places and pick up two neighboring string ends on a different knot. (If your group is smaller, they can create one knot together, and then switch places to grab different strings than they were originally holding)
- Each group is then given five minutes to untangle the new knot by moving around each other but never letting go of the string ends.
- Once time is called, the groups come together and place their knots (untangled or still tangled) in the center of the large circle to debrief the activity.
Potential Debrief Questions
- What did it feel like to make the knot?
- How did it feel to try to untangle someone else’s knot?
- What might have made this activity easier?
- How might this activity relate to work between individuals and teams?
*The Middlebury Institute has a set of silky cord strings that can be used by faculty, staff, or students to try this activity. Please contact Melissa Sorenson to borrow the materials.