Problem Solving Activities

So, here are a few ideas to get you started. Some are physical, others can be done in the classroom or office. All of them require the team to think strategically and for there to be good leadership.

Water Barrel Swap
Tie a pulley to a tree branch and pass a rope through it. Tie a barrel to each end of the rope. Fill one barrel with water. Then fence off an area around the barrels. The challenge is to swap positions of the barrels without anyone touching the floor inside the fenced off area, or touch the barrels.

Swamp Crossing
Create a swamp, and then the teams have to cross it without going in it. They can be provided with a variety of useful and unuseful equipment. Planks and bricks are commonly used. You can also get the teams to make a bridge.

Get Container from Fenced Area
Place a container inside a fenced off area. The teams are then given a range of equipment to reach and remove the container with it or the equipment touching the ground. Poles and ropes are the main bits of kit. If the canister is light, then the use of an elastic band and four pieces of string are a quick extraction solution.

Film Canister Retrieval from Tube Using Water
Mount a length of plastic drainpipe vertically. Seal off the bottom. Drop in a plastic film canister. The team then has to use their initiative to get the canister out. It will of course be too narrow to get your hand in, and the use of a stick will not work. The solution is to pour in water to make the canister float to the top of the drainpipe.

Carry Bucket of Water Along Rope Over Obstacle course
Make an obstacle course and string a rope along it. Then put the rope through the handle of a bucket of water. The team then has to work together to get the bucket along the length of rope over the obstacles without spilling any water.

The Wall
As a team, get over a ten foot wall.

Get the Team Through a Sheet of Paper
Using a sheet of A4 or letter sized paper and a pair of scissors, you have to cut the sheet of paper so that it forms a hole big enough to fit the entire team through.
HINT You cut the paper in a zig-zag pattern…

Measuring Without Markings – Water Decanter
Give the team two jugs. One jug holds 5 litres, the other jug holds 3 litres. The team has to measure t exactly 4 litres using the jugs. They have an unlimited amount of water to experiment with. The answer lies in pouring water from one jug into the other and back.
For a more advanced problem to solve, give the team an eight-litre container full of water and two empty containers, one that holds 5 litres and the other 3 litres. The team must divide the eight litres into two of the containers, each with exactly four litres in each.