Pathway to Excellence

In brief: To find a way for team to get from one side to another through a grid.

Intensity: Medium

Prop(s): A large groundsheet marked with a 9 x 9 square grid.

How to play:

  • All the players will stand on one side of the groundsheet.
  • All the tiles on the grid contain mines except for a series of ‘safe’ tiles which will allow the players to cross from one side to the other.
  • The objective is for the team to get to the opposite side by finding that ‘safe’ passage.
  • No writing material is allowed.
  • Only you have the solution which is marked on a paper containing the same grid as the ground sheet, indicating the safe passage (see picture – right).
  • The team will send a member into the minefield. He can choose any tile to stand on.
  • If it is an ‘unsafe’ tile, the member gets ‘blown up’, and will have to go back for another turn.
  • A new member will take over to try another tile.
  • When a member steps on a ‘safe tile’, he has a choice to move to the next adjacent tile, horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
  • The process is repeated until the team finds the safe passage and gets all its members across safely.Groundsheet (Minefield)1 800pix

Variation(s):

  1. Want a more complex puzzle, here is a tougher one (see picture). I use it to illustrate the learning point that some times, one needs to take some steps back before one can move forward.Groundsheet (Minefield)2 800pix
  2. It is alright to step on an ‘unsafe’ tile the first time, since it is a matter of trial and error. However, if members of the team continue to step on a tile which they knew it is ‘unsafe’, it is considered a ‘penalty’. Calculate the number of ‘penalties’ committed by the team. Ask the players to decide on the maximum number of ‘penalties’ they allow themselves before they consider themselves as having failed the task.
  3. You can set it up as a competition between 2 teams. Each team can see the tiles that the opponents have stepped on and know whether it is safe or not.
  4. Want to emphasize the learning on planning? Introduce the game with all the players at the grid. Bring them a distance where they cannot see the grid. Only at this location are the players allowed to talk to each other. (This variation was observed through Terence Lee).

Notes to the Facilitator:

  • Look around to see if there is any area in your training venue that already has tiles laid out in a grid. This will save you the effort of bringing the groundsheet. Just use a rope or tape to outline the 9×9 grid.
  • If the group seems to depend on only 1 or 2 members to remember the sequence of ‘safe’ tiles, ban these members from talking and see how well the rest of the group manages the task.
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