Goals of the exercise: a small exercise or demonstration of concentration, tension, relaxation and how strong group influence can be
Age of the participants: 10+
Number of participants: 4+
Duration of the exercise: 30 minutes
Materials: bottle and ping-pong ball
Step by step
- The ping-pong ball is placed on the mouth of the bottle. The rules for the task are this:
- Run to the bottle as fast as possible.
- Without stopping, flick the ball off the bottle with your fingers.
- Most participants will be unsuccessful. On the second and the third round, if the participants stick to the rules, they will still be unsuccessful; the built-up pressure actually increases the error rate.
- After this, the group discusses why hardly anyone can snap the ball off the bottle.
- In the next round, the rules are changed – now are instructed to snap the ping-pong ball slowly. New rules:
- Walk up slowly to the bottle.
- Take a deep breath and relax your shoulders.
- Snap the ball off the bottle.
- This time, most of the participants will snap the ball off the bottle successfully.
This experience can be transferred to real-life situations. Ideas to consider:
- The power lies in calmness.
- Who sets the rules? How do I adapt to this?
- Can I get carried away?
- Do I change my strategy, or keep trying to overcome the failure?
This experience can also be applied to non-formal learning itself:
- Changes and new learning do not come with pressure
- Everyone has to find their own way
- Everyone has the right to their own point of view
Authorship/adaptation or source: unknown source, adapted by Roter Baum