Broken square-exercise

By Robin Chavez,2014-04-28 08:57
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Broken square-exercise

    Exercise Broken Square

    Dimensions of Team Work

Objectives: 1. To experience how certain behaviours either facilitate

    or obstruct realization of group task.

    2. To encourage a group to analyse behaviors related to

    effective group working.

Group Size: Any size

    All participants are divided into groups of six persons. Out of

    these six persons, five will work on the task and one to act as


Time: One hour.

Material: Broken pieces of equal squares cut into the shapes as shown



     A F D

     E B ?3”? C C F A 6”

     ? 3” ? ?3”? ?3”? ?3”? ?3”?

    ? 2 ?



     ? 2 ?


    A A

     ? 3” ? ?3”? ? 3” ? ? 3” ?


    Note: The figures presented above do not seem squares of equal size but they all must be squares of equal size with each side of 6 inches.

     2” = Two Inches

     3 = Three Inches

     6” = Six Inches

     The broken pieces should be kept in FIVE envelopes marked

     1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 as under:

    Envelope Pieces

    1 I, H, E

    2 A, A, A, C

    3 A, J

    4 D, F

    5 G, B, F, C

     This material of 5 envelopes forms one set for the use of one

    group. Trainer should keep requisite number of sets ready so

    that more than one group of participants can participate.

Physical Settings: 5 members of each group should be asked to sit around a table

    or they may sit on the floor. Take care to see that members of

    the group do not sit too close to each other. Keep sufficient

    space in the centre. Let different groups sit at a distance from

    each other.

Process: A. The trainer gives one set of five envelopes to each

    group. Each one picks up one envelope. They are told

    not to open it until asked to do so.

    B. He then instructs the groups as under:

    1. Pieces in these 5 envelopes together can form 5

    complete squares of equal size.

    2. Each group has the task of completing five squares

    of equal size and each person should have one

    square completed in front of him.

    3. He/She thereafter announces the ground rules.


     Ground Rules:

    i. You will not speak.

    ii. You will not ask of others for piece or pieces

    which you feel will complete your square nor

    snatch a piece from your colleague nor make a

    gesture showing your need for a piece.

    iii. You will, however, be permitted to give a piece to

    any member in the group you wish.

    iv. No one will throw the pieces in the centre of the


    v. One person should not get all pieces.


     C. The members are asked to open the envelopes and

    begin. The game has started. The observers are asked

    to ensure strict adherence to the ground rules. At the

    end of the period of 5 minutes the trainer will stop the


Leads for Discussion: The trainer encourages the members from each group to

    describe how their groups have worked and what were their


    The questions given below would help him/her in leading

    discussion. After this s/he may ask the observers to give their


     1. How did the group members go about the assignment:

    a. Who had at one stage the maximum number of

    broken pieces but did not bother to part with any

    of the pieces.

     What were the reactions of the members towards

    this attitude of the member?

    b. Who had none or the minimum number of pieces

    at one stage? How was he/she feeling?


    c. How many were able to complete the square and

    how did they react when others were groping


    d. Did any member, after having completed the

    square seeing someone else in need for a piece or

    pieces, venture to dismantle his own square and

    pass on the pieces to other person? If so, what

    motivated him to do so?

    e. Did any one, after having completed his square

    merely sit pretty, watching others, without

    showing the least concern for the group


    2. What were the feelings of those who could not complete

    their squares when the game was called for?

    Concepts to be developed: Structure of the game is such that, it is possible to make 2, 3,

    4 squares with different combinations of pieces, but 5 squares can be made only with the

    combination as shown above.

- Hence it is possible in the game that with the pieces a member gets, he may

    make a square. When once he makes a square, he gets emotionally attached to

    it and would not be willing to dismantle it. When this happens, he would be

    blocking the goal of the group in making 5 squares.

- The rules of the game, when viewed in total, permit a free exchange of pieces

    (resources of the group) among the members. This is strength. If this positive

    factor is made use of well, this will enable the group in achieving the task

    early. Instead, if we highlight the constraints about not being able to talk, it

    may hinder the group task.

    - In giving and receiving help do we give help as per the need of the other

    man and at the time when he requires. This aspect may be highlighted linking

    it to the way in which the pieces were exchanged among members during the


- The question that each member should ask himself

    o What is my need? What is his need/problem? What could be my

    contribution? What could be his contribution?

- Quite often, people are shy to express their need for help


    ? People may not know whether you can help

    ? People may not know whether you are willing to help

    But we can often guess their needs when we see their body message.

    Some tips to the trainer:

In order to conduct this game effectively and develop the concepts forcefully, the trainer

    needs to observe the behaviour of the participants very keenly when the game is on.

From their observations, the concepts will have to be developed. Unlike some other

    games, you don’t get figures to display and interpret. You have to wholly depend on

    observable behaviour. This requires the trainer to be very sensitive.

With your observations help the participants to come out with their feelings/concerns.

Take care not to get locked up with a particular participant in your anxiety to push

    through an idea/concept.

When you feel that a participant is resisting to express his feelings, go to some other

    participant/s and carry on with your discussion. After some time, you may come back to

    the earlier one, perhaps by now, he is relaxed.

Whenever possible and as much as possible, allow/enable participants to interact with

    each other, you acting as a facilitator. This would make them more free.


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