Line of inquiry: How do we get from one place to another? How do we depend upon others to help?
Grade range: K-7
Group size: Small groups that can get bigger. Initially start with teams of two, then three, then, if time allows, four. This can be a competition between teams.
Materials: 1ft. X 1ft. mats (The tiles that snap together work well, or samples of linoleum or carpet squares, or make some using art foam.)
Activity Objective: Ask students to cross the space (a stage, the gym, the classroom) without touching the floor. Younger kids and even some older kids love imagining that they are traveling over hot lava.
Time: 30-45 minutes.
Skills: Critical thinking skills, communication, cooperation
Space: This can be done across a stage, gym, or classroom if space allows
Directions: The facilitator will line up the teams of two on one side of the space. Their objective is to get across the defined area using only the mats; their feet cannot touch the floor. Give the student teams just three mats. They can maneuver the tiles across the floor, trading places as needed. Once all of the teams have crossed the space, change the teams by adding a third student to each team, but no extra tiles. They must figure out how to get everyone across the hot lava, using only three tiles. Again, they must use the only tiles, no piggyback rides.
Deliver the Challenge: Get the team across safely the space safely. To do so, they must take turns, share, and cooperate. If needed, a guide can help talk them to safety.
Safety Concerns: No piggyback rides! Choose a materials for the mats that does not slip on the floor. (not paper)
Extensions: To extend the activity, students may add obstacles either during the journey or before they begin. Or change the course as they move across.
Notes: Some students may have a difficult time coming up with the solution – they may need some prompting.