If you are currently planning an Adventure Challenge unit, I hope that you may find this preassessment task useful. It seems as though it worked well with my students when we completed the task last week here at the Nanjing International School in China.
The central idea for the Adventure Challenge unit is:
Effectively solving problems requires communication, trust, and an open mind.
The activity that I planned for my group was called The Human Square. I have done versions of this activity many times before and it has generally worked very well.
How to play:
Every student (with exception to two or three who will act as observers) will be blindfolded and spread out around the gym. Stressing safety as being most important, the students are instructed to carefully and gently make their way into the center of the gym (or there about) and meet. Once all students have met around the center, they must figure out how they can create a human square formation that requires everyone to lay on the ground/floor. They are to remain blindfolded the entire time. Communication is emphasized as one of the keys to being successful in this challenge. It will no doubt take them a while to accomplish this task, but as teachers, we must let them figure out how to do this on their own and try our best not to get involved. If safety is at stake or total meltdown occurs, the teacher must step in to help. Otherwise, THEY CAN DO IT!!! (I have rarely had a class to be able to complete this task.
The role of the Observers
Choosing observers is very important as well. The role of the observers is to watch thoughtfully and carefully, noting on paper both positive behaviors that help the team or negative actions that hurt the team. They are instructed to look for examples of trustful/non-trustful actions, positive and negative communication, and examples of people being open-minded during the activity. At the end of the activity, the observers provide feedback to the group based on what they had witnessed. However, the golden rule that I use for the observers is that they are not allowed to mention a student's name if they are feeding back anything negative. If the comments are positive, a student's name can be used, but not for negative comments.
Please see picture below of the preassessment task given. Essentially, the students must reflect on the activity and jot some notes down regarding how they think Trust, Communication, and an Open Mind played large roles in this activity.
In Action Photo
As always, I like to include action photos whenever possible on assessment sheets. As you can see by the photo on the right hand of the assessment sheet, the students were able to complete this task and did quite well. Although this assessment sheet was not completed in time, the students will see the picture next class that will serve as a tool to help them remember the activity.