From Theme One: The Discovery

Youth participating in the 'Human Knot' activity.


For students to get to know each other and solve a problem cooperatively with a new group.

Student Outcome

Student will participate in team-building activity. 

Portfolio Placement


Time Frame

15-20 minutes

Size of Group

Large or small group (if group is more than 10 students, two groups could run concurrently)

Materials Needed

Large open space for students to move around unobstructed

Before You Begin

This is a silent activity. The purpose is for the students to solve a problem cooperatively and silently. It is very important that once the activity begins the students do not talk to each other.


  1. Instruct all the students to stand in a circle and hold hands.
  2. Choose a place in the circle where two people should drop hands so they are no longer holding hands.
  3. Tell these two people to walk under the other students’ arms until the group is in one big “clump,” but all hands are still joined except the two who created the “clump.” When the “clump” is made, the original two students rejoin hands.
  4. Inform students that the group is to try to untangle themselves and reform the circle without letting go of any hands. Remind students that activity is to be completed in silence.


  1. What did you notice about how you worked together when you could not talk?
  2. What was the goal of this activity? How did you express that without talking?
  3. What are your observations about how you were able to solve the “Human Knot” problem?
  4. What did you observe about others: their reactions to the problem, etc.?
  5. Did you notice any team building going on? What did you observe?
  6. Were there any natural leaders that came forth in this activity? Who? Did that surprise you? Why or why not?
  7. How could the activity have gone more smoothly?
  8. How might the activity have been different if talking had been allowed?
  9. What did you learn about each other in this activity?


Journals/Community Circle — Ask students to reflect on a problem they feel they have solved. What helped you solve the problem? Did you solve the problem alone or with other people’s help?