Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Length(s) of rope
  • Optional: Geometric shapes cut out of paper or drawn on paper

Preparation for Activity

  • Depending on the group's size, decide whether to do this activity as one large group or several small groups (either simultaneously or taking turns). Cut a length of rope and tie the ends together to make a circle with one knot. Make additional rope circles if needed. The rope circle must be large enough for all participants to grasp it while sitting around it. (You may wish to measure a rope to exactly fit the perimeter of the circle or rug where participants sit for the workshop Opening or Closing.)
  • Choose some shapes the group can form with their bodies and a circle of rope; consider the meeting space and the number of people in the group. Optional: Draw or cut out and label the shapes to display so all participants understand what each shape looks like.
  • Try this activity with co-leaders and others before leading it.

Description of Activity

In this activity, everyone has a role in achieving the group's desired goal, providing a small-scale analogy to the community problem solving in the story "The Caican Water Project."

Gather participants in a seated circle. Hand them the rope, making sure one person holds the knot. With everyone holding the rope with both hands, challenge the group to use the rope to pull everyone up to standing. Repeat for the fun of it. When the group is standing, ask them to adjust their positions so their rope is taut. Then call out different shapes for them to make with their rope. A square or rectangle is an easy place to start. If you wish, add one side at a time (triangle, square, pentagon... ). See if anyone notices when a pentagon, hexagon, heptagon or octagon starts to resemble a circle. (Multiple sides blending into a circle will evoke for some participants the theme of the day: discrete parts/continuous wholes).

You can increase the challenge by asking groups to form letters of the alphabet.

Remind the group to make sure their rope is always taut. Shapes needn't be perfect, but encourage the group to agree that they have satisfactorily achieved the goal shape before trying a new shape.

You can add fun for a high energy group, if you have the space: Ask them to move while still maintaining their rope in the desired shape.

Including All Participants

If a participant uses a wheelchair, encourage the group to consider that person an anchor and to move around them. If any participant cannot take a useful role in helping the group make a shape, do not use this activity.

Take care that everyone in the group knows the goal shape. If participants range widely in age or knowledge of geometry, use cut-outs or drawings of shapes.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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