Pot o’ Gold

Pot o’ Gold

Approximate Running Time: 20 – 30 minutes including debrief (can be dependent on how collaborative the group are though!)

Minimum Group Size: 3 people

Maximum Group Size: 30 people (per group – if you are working with a large group you can split them up in the same space to run this activity)

Age/ Level:  Participants must be capable of reasoning and understanding the meaning behind the activity rather than just the simple objective.  This activity is suitable for a mature Grade 4 class or older participants.

Space Required: This activity requires enough space for participants to run around freely, as well as enough space for participants to sit in a circle to debrief.  A four-cornered room works well as each group can be assigned a corner of their own.

– hula hoops (one for each group)
– random items or ‘gold’ such as tennis balls, blocks, etc.
– a piece of paper for each group that has the objective of the activity written on it: “Your objective is to put all of the ‘gold’ in a hoop”

Not a lot of physical space set-up required, but you will need enough clear space for the groups to have their own space for a hula hoop and room to move and collect ‘gold’.

The objective of this activity is for participants to consider how they work in groups, the choices they make as individuals and how those choices affect others.  Concepts such as conflict resolution can be addressed in debrief sessions.

Facilitator Guidelines:

  1. Divide participants into four to six evenly-sized groups and give each group a hula hoop.  In the centre of the room, place all of the ‘gold’ (random items).
  2. Give the participants the parameters of the activity:
    1. This activity is to be done in silence.
    2. Each group will be given an objective.
    3. The activity will start when the facilitator says it has begun and will end when the facilitator says it will end.
  3. Hand each group their objective (on a piece of paper).  Each piece of paper has the same objective on it, but the groups’ won’t necessarily know this.  The objective written on each piece of paper is “Your objective is to put all of the ‘gold’ in a hoop”.
  4. Start the activity.  This will usually result in chaos as participants try to get all the ‘gold’ into their team’s hoop.  Some will be quite physical (ensure the activity is always safe for participants!) and others may be quite sneaky by trying to steal from other teams.
  5. After the activity has run for a while, stop the participants and allow them to re-group with their team to consider their strategy – What was working well?  What wasn’t working well?  What could they do differently?  Were they successful in reaching their objective?
  6. In the second round, you may like to tell the participants that they will be successful when all teams reach their objectives (if they haven’t come to the conclusion that collaboration for whole group success is a good solution!).
  7. Repeat the activity in silence and how participants communicate (without voice) their collaborative message.


General Debrief Questions:  The debrief for this activity is largely determined by whether or not the participants were able to collaborate for community success.

What happened during that activity?

Were you successful in achieving your objective?  Was the group successful in achieving their objectives?

What strategies did you use to resolve conflict?

Did all the groups have the same objective?  Did the whole group have a shared objective?  Do you think sharing your objectives with others can create a better space for collaboration?

What could have made this activity easier?

How could this activity apply in real life?