International robbery

International robbery

A robbery.. what? How is that even possible? Undoubtedly, being part of a team with such a mission requires full participation; everyone needs to contribute. And a team can only win by creating an excellent strategy.

Name of the activity: International robbery
Duration: anywhere between 1 hour and 2 hours.
Preferred location: outside, preferably on a field or in an open space where small groups can spread around without seeing each other’s creations.
Working method: individual work and teamwork (maximum 5 people in a small team).
Purpose (expected impact, outcomes): improving the communication and cooperation skills of your participants; still, through this activity you can choose various aims starting from developing strategic thinking all the way to strengthening visual memory.
Materials: legos, a blanket and boxes.
Instructions: there is a famous museum in town, launching a unique exhibition for a couple of days. One of the most valuable pieces of this exhibition is a lego creation. In the middle of the night, various local gangs decide to get hold of this artwork, but who will manage? In order to steal the original one, they all need to create an excellent copy of it and sneak it into the museum while grabbing the valuable one. 
Divide your participants into small teams. Ask them to spread around, with a reasonable distance between each other. Each group will have a box in front of them, placed in such a way that it is easy to put something on its surface. In the middle of the field, with an equal distance from each group, have your own box with a lego creation on top of it (you prepare this upfront and you can decide how challenging you would like this creation to be, including different colours and shapes) and cover this with a blanket. Then hand over each team a small package of legos, make sure that they have enough of the same colours and sizes that they need in order to recreate your construction. Afterwards, tell the rules to the teams:
– from each team, only 1 person can run at a time to the original artwork and this person has 10 seconds to look at it;
– then he/she runs back and tells the others what he/she saw, without touching the materials, the others are constructing;
– in the meantime, already the second person from the team runs and checks, this person will follow the same steps, after running back ,he/she can give instructions to the others, by this time, the first person is replaced so he/she can also start building;
– the activity will run until one group claims that they made the exact copy;
– then the facilitator takes it and checks whether it is true; if yes, we have the winner, if not, the game can continue.
Make sure that you also give time for your participants in order to come up with a strategy.
Debriefing: at the end, have a closing with your participants. You can all check the original artwork and discuss how the process went. The following questions can support you in this:
– did we manage to create an excellent copy or not; why is that?
– how did my team function and how did I function in a team?
– what was our strategy, is there anything we could have done better?
– what were my characteristics in this game; do I recognize the same characteristics from my daily life?
Possible alternatives, changes for different circumstances: depending on the goal of your activity, you can ask different questions during the debriefing phase. You can also decide to make it easier or harder for your participants by giving them time for strategizing in between, creating an easier or more difficult original artwork, or giving more roles for each team. Since the activity can be quite long and sometimes even frustrating for some of your participants (coming up with a way to recreate the masterpiece, giving instructions without touching the materials and making sure that everyone understands, having the time pressure), it is good to have enough time for the reflection part afterwards.