In this activity, the team is tasked with moving 15 ping pong balls from Table #1 to Table #4 without directly touching or lifting the balls, and using only the materials provided.
4 index cards to label the tables
2 small boxes
Materials for the challenge:
1 piece of masking tape (40cm)
1 long cardboard tube (40cm)
1 piece of string (40cm)
1 paper/plastic cup
2 wood rulers
5 sheets of paper
5 paper clips
10 rubber bands
15 ping pong balls
½ package of stick-tack
Group Size: 8 to 12 ideally. With bigger groups, you can split them into smaller teams and prepare one set of resources for each team.
Total Time: 40 minutes
15 minutes to brief and setup
15 minutes for the activity
10 minutes to review and debrief
Position the 4 tables in a row, with a 1m gap between each table (see diagram for the layout).
Label the desks with the index cards in numerical order.
Place the 2 small boxes on Table #1: one of the boxes will hold the 15 ping pong balls while the other will hold the other remaining materials.
Ping Pong Move Along - Set Up
Running the Activity
Explain the activity: The team has to move 15 ping pong balls from Table #1 to Table #4 without touching the balls and using only the materials provided. There is a time limit of 10 minutes, and any ping pong balls that drop to the floor are out of play.
Scoring system (if there is more than one team participating): Each team will receive 1 point for each ping pong ball on Table #2, 2 points for each ball on Table #3 and 3 points for each ball on Table #4. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Once they are ready, the trainer can start the clock for the team to begin the activity,
At the end of 10 minutes, the activity ends, and the trainer tallies the points. The higher the team score, the better they worked together.
Only the provided materials can be used during the challenge.
You have 10 minutes to complete the challenge.
The 2 wooden rulers and 15 ping pong balls given to the team cannot be changed in any way.
Participants are not allowed to directly touch or lift the ping pong balls in order to move them.
Any ping pong balls that fall to the floor are out of play.
If the team has difficulty moving the ping pong balls or you have a small space to run the activity, you can place the tables closer together.
To make it more challenging, instruct the team to move each ping pong ball one by one.
Suggested Learning Outcomes
Suggested questions to ask:
What did you do well? How did you decide on the method of moving the ping pong balls?
What was your strategy to maximise the points you scored?
Did any accidents happen during the challenge (i.e. did you lose any ping pong balls?) How did you get back on track? Did you change your strategy?
Did you identify a leader?
What leadership skills were demonstrated during the challenge?
How well did you communicate during the challenge?
What did you learn from the challenge?