Cup Stack and Ball Carry
Exploring Team Function
As a result of participating in this activity, learners will:
- Operate two rudimentary, team-based devices to accomplish an identified challenge.
- Assess strategies needed to monitor the situation and support other team members during a high-stress event.
- Evaluate the efficacy of those behaviors.
- Assemble students into teams of 5-6 using some method to ensure diversity/interprofessionalism on each team. Each team is to complete two tasks in sequence to complete this activity.
- The first challenge is to use a device composed of a large washer with 4 to 6 strings tied to it, one piece of string per team member. Tie only one end of each string to the washer. The washer is a 2.5” metal ring with strings measuring 3 to 4 feet in length. Team members must each hold a string and use the device to transport an object such as an egg, foam craft ball, or ping pong ball from one location to another, lowering the object into a 16 ounce disposable cup. If the object drops, return to the beginning and start over. Team members may not hold the object with hands or fingers.
- To begin the second challenge, reset the area of play. The second transporting device is similar to the first one with an elastic band in the center of the strings instead of the washer. A cup is placed open side down, and team members pull the strings to expand the elastic, stretching it over the base of the cup. Releasing the elastic allows them to carry the cup to another location. There, they find nine other similar cups, also open side down. Using the device, stack cups in a pyramid with four cups on the bottom, and subsequent rows of 3 cups, 2 cups, and 1 cup.
- These challenges may also be done as individual events.
SizeSmall Group, Medium Group
EquipmentMinimal Equipment - 2" foam craft balls, egg or ping pong ball; 16 oz. plastic party cups; 2.5" metal washer; 4-6 pieces of 3-4 ft. string per washer; 3 1/4" rubber bands, 4-6 pieces of 3-4 ft. string per rubber band
In collaborative teams, we function interdependently with the rest of the team. Under pressure, some team members may conclude that they have the best, or perhaps even the only, solution. In those situations, collaborative teamwork may become frustrating, or fall apart completely.
- What went well? How did you r team perform in the completion of these somewhat awkward tasks?
- Some team members performed better than others in this exercise. How did your team members respond to the differences in abilities? Ask a team member who felt confident, and then ask one who didn’t.
Imagine the object being carried is a patient to whom your team has been assigned.
- Translate the metaphor of each of you holding the strings to being on a patient care team.
- Provide an example of when we drop the ball in patient care.
- Provide an example of when you have had to go back to the beginning and start over with a patient.
IPEC CompetencyVE 4
CC 1, 4, 5, 7
TT 5, 11
Team members do not all have either the same skills or the same proficiencies, potentially impeding the performance of the team. Being a part of the team sometimes means coaching others, helping them learn a skill that may be very unfamiliar to them.
- How did your team members hold one another accountable in this exercise? What happened if one team member struggled more than the rest of the group?
- Try to recall the exact words used when people encountered an obstacle. How do you think those messages supported or criticized individual team members?
- What is a typical reaction when team members feel that others are blaming them for team challenges?
- If team members have similar skills, how can they provide mutual support to one another to provide optimal patient care? What about different skills?
- Your teammate is going through a nasty divorce and is very distracted. You notice that she ordered a medication to which your patient is allergic. What do you do?
- The nurse is trying to insert an IV in a newborn and the parents keep yelling at the nurse. How can you be supportive?
IPEC CompetencyVE 7, 8
RR 2, 5, 6
CC 1, 4-7
TT 8, 9, 11
Teams are expected to operate as a unit, not a group of individuals. Being a team member means watching for opportunities to fill in any gaps in team performance for the sake of a positive outcome. Sometimes this is called, having someone else’s back, be it a patient or a team member.
1. What specifically did you notice about how your team aligned itself to bring individuals to function together?
2. Where in these activities did you either share or receive information that benefitted the progress toward the desired outcome?
1. You are speaking with a patient and her family about her DNR order when the phlebotomist comes in to draw labs but you know that labs have not been ordered. How do you address this situation?
2. During both activities, you had to navigate around obstacles as a team. What are some types of obstacles your team has encountered in patient care?
IPEC CompetencyVE 7
CC 1, 4-7
TT 5,7,8, &11
SummaryIt doesn’t take a lot to stress a team! Using simple devices from common, everyday items, teams perform tasks that depend on each member collaboratively participating while supporting others.
For more information about how to utilize games, low-fidelity simulation, and interactive learning to teach concepts of teamwork and collaboration, contact Better.Teams@rosalindfranklin.edu