Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Shape It Up

Thomas Martin


Students work together to gather communication skills; practice leadership, trust, and respect; and experience creativity in this indoor/outdoor activity.


The student knows the skills needed to be a responsible friend and family member (eg., communication and sharing).


-One rope that is approximately 3/8 inch and at least 50 feet in length ( It is fine for the rope to be longer for larger groups.)
- Blindfolds (optional for younger age groups)
- Index cards


1. Have the rope placed in a circle where the activity will take place.
2. Have blindfolds available if using them.
3. Have index cards pre-drawn or written.


1. Inform the group that they will be graded on their efforts in working together on developing effective communication skills, leadership, trust, respect and creativity.

2. Let the group know that this activity will only be successful by using good leadership and effective communication. Explain that there are no rules for this activity, just an outline to follow. Discuss how effective communication skills will play an important role in helping them successfully complete the activity. Brainstorm some effective communication skills as a group (both verbal and non-verbal).

3. Following the discussion, allow the group to choose a leader that will guide the group to success.

4. Take the two ends of the rope and tie them in a half-knot.

5. Lay the rope on the ground/ floor so you have formed a circle with the rope.

6. Have all the group members form around the outside of the rope and have the group leader stand in the center of the circle.

7. Have the students reach down and pick up the rope with both hands. (It does not matter which way the hands are turned.)

8. Pick a simple shape to begin with, such as a square, and make the shapes a little more complicated as you complete each activity.

9. Let the group leader know that you would like him to form a square ( do this by whispering to him/her or have index cards with either the shape written or drawn on the card). The group leader cannot let the group know what the shape is until the activity is complete.

10. Begin the first shape with everyone having their eyes open and the group leader directing the group to form the square. (ie. Bob take two steps forward, Dan take a half step to your right, Bill take one step forward and a half a step to your left and etc…)

11. Once the group leader is confident that he has moved the group to create the square, he or she will say “done”.

12. Ask the group if they think that the shape looks like a square.

13. If you agree that the shape does resemble a square, continue to make the activity a little more challenging by having the group close their eyes or wear blindfolds. Make the shape a little harder or even put a time limit on how long the group leader has to make the shape. If the group is catching on pretty quickly, allow the group to open their eyes and have the group leader form the shape by non-verbal communication.

14. After the group has gone through the activity a few times, have the group make a circle with the rope.

15. After the circle is made, have the group leader and yourself become part of the circle. Have everyone takes a step backward.

16. Next, have everyone take a seat on the floor or ground so that everyone can see each other. Ask the group questions like: -Can anyone give an example of effective communication?- -Did the group show any teamwork?- If so, give an example. -How did trust play a part in this activity?-
-How did effective communication help your group complete this activity?-


Observe to see if the students are able to use different methods of effective communication such as: visual communication, hand signals, body language and verbal and non-verbal communication.

Observe to see how each student works within the group. Watch for cooperative worker skills such as working together cooperatively, not arguing with group members, participation, listening carefully, etc.. Also observe to see if the students will reach out to assist other students that might struggle within the activity.

Listen to the students discuss the activity to see if there is much thought put into the discussion at the end of the activity. Listen for effective communication skills.

Provide feedback as needed for groups who are having difficulty in communication.


Use different scenarios such as strategic or even real-world accomplishments.
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