Saturday, March 13, 2010


• Line up in two rows which face each other.
• Introduce the Helium Stick- a long, thin, lightweight rod.
• Ask participants to point their index fingers and hold their arms out.
• Lay the Helium Stick down on their fingers. Get the group to adjust their finger heights until the Helium Stick is horizontal and everyone's index fingers are touching the stick.
• Explain that the challenge is to lower the Helium Stick to the ground.
The catch: Each person's fingers must be in contact with the Helium Stick at all times. Pinching or grabbing the pole in not allowed - it must rest on top of fingers.
Reiterate to the group that if anyone's finger is caught not touching the Helium Stick, the task will be restarted. Let the task begin....

Warning: Particularly in the early stages, the Helium Stick has a habit of mysteriously 'floating' up rather than coming down, causing much laughter. A bit of clever humouring can help - e.g., act surprised and ask what are they doing raising the Helium Stick instead of lowering it! For added drama, jump up and pull it down!
The stick does not contain helium. The secret (keep it to yourself) is that the collective upwards pressure created by everyone's fingers tends to be greater than the weight of the stick. As a result, the more a group tries, the more the stick tends to 'float' upwards
• Participants operate in pairs. Consider how the pairs are formed - it's a chance to work on relationships. One person is blind-folded (or keeps eyes closed) and cannot talk (optional). The other person can see and talk, but cannot enter the field or touch the person.
• The challenge is for each blind-folded person to walk from one side of the field to the other, avoiding the "mines", by listening to the verbal instructions of their partners.
• Allow participants a short period (e.g., 3 minutes) of planning time to decide on their communication commands, then begin the activity.
• Be wary of blindfolded people bumping into each other. The instructor(s) can float around the playing area to help prevent collisions.
• Decide on the penalty for hitting a "mine". It could be a restart (serious consequence) or time penalty or simply a count of hits, but without penalty.
• It can help participants if you suggest that they each develop a unique communication system.
Blow up a balloon and keep it in the air by using the body part called out.
The group all stand on a tarp or similar and have to turn it over without anyone touching the ground with their feet
You and your companions have just survived the crash of a small plane. Both the pilot and co-pilot were killed in the crash. It is mid-January, and you are in Northern Canada. The daily temperature is 25 below zero, and the night time temperature is 40 below zero. There is snow on the ground,
and the countryside is wooded with several creeks criss-crossing the area. The nearest town is 20 miles away. You are all dressed in city clothes appropriate for a business meeting. Your group of survivors managed to salvage the following items:
• A ball of steel wool
• A small axe
• A loaded .45-caliber pistol
• Can of cooling fat
• Newspapers (one per person)
• Cigarette lighter (without fluid)
• Extra shirt and pants for each survivor
• 20 x 20 ft. piece of heavy-duty canvas
A sectional air map made of plastic
• One quart of 100-proof whiskey
• A compass
• Family-size chocolate bars (one per person)
Your task as a group is to list the above 12 items in order of importance for your survival. List the uses for each. You MUST come to agreement as a group.
• Cigarette lighter (without fluid)
The gravest danger facing the group is exposure to cold. The greatest need is for a source of warmth and the second greatest need is for signalling devices. This makes building a fire the first order of business. Without matches, something is needed to produce sparks, and even without fluid, a cigarette lighter can do that.
• Ball of steel wool
To make a fire, the survivors need a means of catching he sparks made by the cigarette lighter. This is the best substance for catching a spark and supporting a flame, even if the steel wool is a little wet.
• Extra shirt and pants for each survivor
Besides adding warmth to the body, clothes can also be used for shelter, signalling, bedding, bandages, string (when unravelled), and fuel for the fire.
• Can containing cooling fat
This has many uses. A mirror-like signalling device can be made from the lid. After shining the lid with steel wool, it will reflect sunlight and generate 5 to 7 million candlepower. This is bright enough to be seen beyond the horizon. While this could be limited somewhat by the trees, a member of the group could climb a tree and use the mirrored lid to signal search planes. If they had no other means of signalling than this, they would have a better than 80% chance of being rescued within the first day.
There are other uses for this item. It can be rubbed on exposed skin for protection against the cold. When melted into an oil, the shortening is helpful as fuel. When soaked into a piece of cloth, melted shortening will act like a candle. The empty can is useful in melting snow for drinking water. It is much safer to drink warmed water than to eat snow, since warm water will help retain body heat. Water is important because dehydration will affect decision-making. The can is also useful as a cup.
• 20 x 20 foot piece of canvas
The cold makes shelter necessary, and canvas would protect against wind and snow (canvas is used in making tents). Spread on a frame made of trees, it could be used as a tent or a wind screen. It might also be used as a ground cover to keep the survivors dry. Its shape, when contrasted with the surrounding terrain, makes it a signalling device.
• Small axe.
Survivors need a constant supply of wood in order to maintain the fire. The axe could be used for this as well as for clearing a sheltered campsite, cutting tree branches for ground insulation, and constructing a frame for the canvas tent.
• Family size chocolate bars (one per person)
Chocolate will provide some food energy. Since it contains mostly carbohydrates, it supplies the energy without making digestive demands on the body.
• Newspapers (one per person)
These are useful in starting a fire. They can also be used as insulation under clothing when rolled up and placed around a person’s arms and legs. A newspaper can also be used as a verbal signalling device when rolled up in a megaphone-shape. It could also provide reading material for recreation.
• Loaded .45-caliber pistol.
The pistol provides a sound-signalling device. (The international distress signal is 3 shots fired in rapid succession). There have been numerous cases of survivors going undetected because they were too weak to make a loud enough noise to attract attention. The butt of the pistol could be used as a hammer, and the powder from the shells will assist in fire building. By placing a small bit of cloth in a cartridge emptied of its bullet, one can start a fire by firing the gun at dry wood on the ground. The pistol also has some serious disadvantages. Anger, frustration, impatience, irritability, and lapses of rationality may increase as the group awaits rescue. The availability of a lethal weapon is a danger to the group under these conditions. Although a pistol could be used in hunting, it would take an expert marksman to kill an animal with it. Then the animal would have to be transported to the crash site, which could prove difficult to impossible depending on its size.
• Quart of 100 proof whiskey.
The only uses of whiskey are as an aid in fire building and as a fuel for a torch (made by soaking a piece of clothing in the whiskey and attaching it to a tree branch). The empty bottle could be used for storing water. The danger of whiskey is that someone might drink it, thinking it would bring
warmth. Alcohol takes on the temperature it is exposed to, and a drink of minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit whiskey would freeze a person’s esophageus and stomach. Alcohol also dilates the blood vessels in the skin, resulting in chilled blood belong carried back to the heart, resulting in a rapid loss of body heat. Thus, a drunken person is more likely to get hypothermia than a sober person is.
• Compass.
Because a compass might encourage someone to try to walk to the nearest town, it is a dangerous item. Its only redeeming feature is that it could be used as a reflector of sunlight (due to its glass top).
• Sectional air map made of plastic.
This is also among the least desirable of the items because it will encourage individuals to try to walk to the nearest town. It’s only useful feature is as a ground cover to keep someone dry.
You are adrift on a private yacht in the South Pacific. As a consequence of a fire of unknown origin, much of the yacht and its contents have been destroyed. The yacht had all navigational equipment destroyed while you and the crew were trying to bring the fire under control. Your best estimate is that you are approximately one thousand miles south/southwest of the nearest land.
Below is a list of fifteen items that are intact and undamaged after the fire. In addition to these articles, you have a serviceable rubber life raft with oars large enough to carry yourself, the crew, and all the items listed below. The total contents of all survivors' pockets are a package of cigarettes, several books of matches, and five one-dollar bills.
Your task is to rank the 15 items below in terms of their importance to your survival, with 1 as most important and 15 as least important.
Avoid arguing for your own individual judgements. Approach the task on the basis of logic.
Avoid changing your mind if it is only to reach agreement and avoid conflict. Support only solutions with which you are able to agree at least somewhat.
Avoid 'conflict-reducing' techniques such as majority vote, averaging or trading-in reaching your decision.
View differences of opinion as a help rather than a hindrance in decision-making.
• Sextant
• Small transistor radio
• Shaving mirror
• Shark repellent
• 5 gallon can of water
• 20 sq.ft. of opaque plastic
• Mosquito netting
• 1 case of rations
• Maps of the area
• Seat cushion (flotation device)
• 2 gallon can of oil/gas mixture
• 1 bottle of 160 proof rum
• 15 ft. of nylon rope
• 2 boxes of chocolate bars
• Fishing kit
Answer Sheet Correct Numbers
1. Shaving mirror: Vital for signalling air/sea rescue.
2. 2 gallon can of oil/gas mixture: Vital for signalling - the mixture will float and could be ignited (when the raft is clear, obviously!)
3. 5 gallon can of water
4. 1 case of rations: Provides basic food.
5. 20 sq.ft. of opaque plastic: To collect rainwater and provide shelter
6. 2 boxes of chocolate bars: A reserve food supply
7. Fishing kit: Ranked lower than the chocolate bars because there is no guarantee that you will catch any fish!
8. 15 ft. of nylon rope: May be used to secure equipment to prevent it from falling overboard.
9. Seat cushion (flotation device): A life-saver is someone falls overboard.
10. Shark repellent
11. 1 bottle of 160 proof rum: Contains 80% alcohol - enough to serve as antiseptic for injuries; of little value otherwise; will cause dehydration if drunk.
12. Small transistor radio: Of little value as there is no transmitter.
13. Maps of the area: Worthless without navigational aids - it does not really matter where you are, but where the rescuers are!
14. Mosquito netting: There are no mosquitos out at sea.
15. Sextant: Relatively useless without tables and a chronometer.
You and two of your crew are returning to the base ship on the sunlit side of the moon after carrying out a 72-hour exploration trip. Your small rocket craft has crash-landed about 300 kilometres from the base ship. You and the crew need to reach the base ship. In addition to your spacesuits, your crew was able to remove the following items from the rocket craft:
• 4 packages of food concentrate
• 20m nylon rope
• 1 portable heating unit
• 1 magnetic compass
• 1 box of matches
• 1 first-aid kit
• 2 50-kg tanks of oxygen
• 20 L of water
• 1 star chart
• 1 case of dehydrated milk
• 1 solar-powered radio set
• 3 signal flares
• 1 large piece of insulating fabric
• 1 flashlight
• 2 45-caliber pistols, loaded
Using what you know about the moon, rate each item in the above list according to how important it would be in getting you back to the base ship. List the most important first, the least important last. Number them 1 through 15
1. Two 50-kg tanks of oxygen (for breathing)
2. 20 L of water (replenish body loss)
3. Star Chart (principal means of finding direction)
4. Four packages of food concentrate (daily food requirements)
5. Solar-powered radio (signalling and receiving)
6. 20 m nylon rope (climbing, securing packs, etc.)
7. First-aid kit (injury or sickness)
8. Large piece of insulating fabric (shelter from sun)
9. Three signal flares (location marker when in sight of base ship)
10. Two 45-caliber pistols (useful as propulsion devices)
11. Case of dehydrated milk (nutrition source)
12. Portable heating unit (useful only on dark side of the moon)
13. Flashlight (useful only on dark side of the moon)
14. Magnetic compass (useless since moon has no magnetic poles)
15. Box of matches (little or no use on moon)
One person in each tem draws a shape and passes it on to the next person who adds to it
A time limit of 5 seconds is given for each drawing
No talking or discussion between anyone
• Each person is given a piece of newspaper which they make into a bowling ball
• Mark each ball so you can recognise it at your ball
• The object of the game is to see who can get their ball closest to the marker ball.

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