Tapestry of Faith: Love Connects Us: A Program on Living in Unitarian Universalist Covenant for Grades 4-5

Alternate Activity 1: Pyramid Building

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Plastic cups (six for each team)
  • Rubber bands (one for each team)
  • String and scissors

Preparation for Activity

  • Calculate how many teams of four to six participants you will have, and obtain the appropriate materials.
  • Cut string into 12" lengths (one for each participant). Tie six strings securely to each rubber band. Test the rubber bands with another adult to make sure they will not snap apart when used as the teams will use them.

Description of Activity

Form teams of four to six participants. Give each team six plastic cups. Set the cups on work tables, upside down, with space between them.

Challenge the teams to build a pyramid of cups without touching the cups or any other participants. Then give each team the rubber bands you have prepared with strings.

Teams will discover that with each member pulling and relaxing their string in cooperation with the other members, the will be able to stretch and manipulate the rubber band to pick up and move the plastic cups.

For a greater challenge, encourage the teams to complete the task without talking.

After all teams have managed to stack the cups into pyramids or time is almost up, take a few minutes to reflect on this activity as a group. Consider:

  • How long did it take for the group to discover the trick was working together to pull on their strings?
  • Was the game frustrating for anyone? Why? How could it have been less frustrating?
  • How did it feel needing the cooperation of everyone to make the pyramid work?
  • What would have happened if one person had chosen not to cooperate and pull their string as necessary?
  • How does this relate to how people function together in a religious community? What if someone refused to participate with the rest of the group by pulling their string the wrong way? What if someone did not understand their part in working together?

Including All Participants

If any participant is unable to manipulate their string to help their team, they can give verbal instructions to the team while the others remain silent and obey the commands. Do not change the game mid-stream to make such an accommodation. Rather, start out with a rule that each team must have one person lead with verbal instructions while the others follow.

Some children may want to shoot the rubber bands or play with them inappropriately. Minimize temptation by holding on to all the rubber bands until the teams are ready to begin the game, and collecting them immediately afterward. If a child misuses a rubber band, ask the child to sit out the rest of the game so others can enjoy playing it.