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Monday, September 1, 2014

Penny Rafts

  • 10 straws per 2 people
  • Masking tape
  • 100 pennies
  • 1 pan with an inch or two of water for every 8 participants
  • One pair of scissors for every 2 people (Optional - do not have to use if you do not feel safe with your clients having scissors)

Pair the students up and give them 10 straws and some masking tape. Tell them they each have 10 minutes (or allow the activity to go as long as they are enjoying it) to build a boat that can float. When the time is up, bring the groups together and have them all put their boats in the pan of water. Then have each group add one penny into their boat at a time until their boat sinks. The total number of pennies in their boat before it sank is their official total.
If you have time, allow them to build a second raft and repeat the process.
*You can make this competitive against each other or have them compete against themselves (compare how many pennies the first raft could hold vs how many pennies the second raft could hold).

Lessons Learned
Teamwork: how their team worked together and what made them successful
Communication: the different ways they communicated with each other
Problem solving: what techniques they used
If you have them compete against themselves, talk about how they may not be great at something the first time but they can get better through trying (talk about endurance, etc.)
Talk about what the pennies can represent: things that they must juggle in life and what might be heavier than other things (especially drugs, alcohol, etc.); pennies could represent the different coping skills they need to use and how to effectively use each of them
Forgiveness: talk about how forgiveness can take a few of those pennies out of their raft and make life better

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