Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Shuffle About

Thomas Martin


Students must work together and practice communication skills, leadership, trust, respect and creativity in order to complete this outdoor activity successfully.


The student knows various ways to communicate care, consideration, and acceptance of self and others (eg., respect, trust, kindness, and sexual abstinence as an expression of love).


-A large pole (approximately 20 feet long; a light pole will work perfectly)
-One Assessment Sheet per student (See Associated File)


1. Obtain a pole approximately 20 feet in length for the activity. (A light pole is the perfect size.)
2. Place the pole in the area designated for the activity.
3. Ensure that the pole is stationary and will not rock back and forth.
4. Determine what question to use as a prompt for the activity. (See Procedures, step #3)
5. Download and copy one Assessment Sheet per student. (See Associated File)


*Inform the group that they will be assessed on their efforts in working together and also on communication skills, leadership, trust, respect and creativity. This activity can have as many students participating as can fit onto the pole. Observe students throughout the activity and provide formative feedback as needed.

1. Begin the activity by reviewing a few safety tips and warm-up stretches. Stretch before beginning the activity, and practice with the group stepping on and off the pole safely. (By going over these few steps, you give your students an awareness of what they need to do when they feel as though they may be falling.)

2. Review with the students the importance of being respectful to their teammates and being considerate when reaching and grabbing for another student when crossing or even losing their balance. Discuss ways to communicate respect, trust, and kindness. Also discuss ways individuals and groups can work together.

3. Begin the activity by having the students sit down on the pole facing the teacher. At this point, it is up to the instructor to become creative in the way they would like to have the group move. (I recommend that you ask the group a question such as: “Of all the fully developed animals in the world, which is your favorite?”

4. Ask the students to keep their thoughts silent until everyone has had time to come up with an animal. Begin at one end of the pole with the first student by asking them what their favorite animal is.

5. After going through all the animals, give the instruction for all the students to stand on the pole. Let the students know that from this moment on, no one is permitted to step off of the pole.

6. At this time, let the students know that starting at the far left end of the pole to the far right end of the pole, from smallest to the largest, the student who stated the smallest animal should move to the left end of the pole without stepping off of it. Remind the students that for safety reasons, no one should be allowed to step on another person to move from one end of the pole to the other. (*If a student does step off or fall off, you can have several consequences. You can be lenient or tough, but I recommend starting off by allowing the student to step back on at the location they were moving from at the time that they fell or stepped off. After that, if the student steps off again, have that student return to the location that he began from.)

7. Students use some pretty unique ways to cross over, around, and even under each other to accomplish this task. However, remind them to be safe in their judgments. A few more examples for shuffling students across the pole are: height, age, birth dates, and colors.

8. After the group has become successful in this task, have all the students sit where they finished.

9. Once again with the left side going first, ask each student what their favorite animal is and why they chose this animal.

10. After going through the whole group, everyone learns a little something about each other.

11. Following the activity, have the group help assess themselves by asking questions such as:
a. Can anyone give an example of how methods of communication were used in this activity?
b. Can anyone give examples of how the group showed teamwork? How could it have been improved?
c. How did trust play a part in this activity?
d. Why was respect, kindness, and consideration an important part of this activity?
e. What were some ways others showed respect, kindness, and consideration to you?
f. What are some ways individuals and the group worked together?


Observe students during the activity and assess each student using the Assessment Sheet. (See Associated File)


The instructor can be as creative as he wishes. Use different scenarios such as strategic or even real-world situations.

Attached Files

This file contains the Assessment Sheet.     File Extension: pdf

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