Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam

The Challenge and Objectives
Using only “legal” moves, two groups of at least four participants must exchange places on a line of carpet squares. All members starting to the left of center should end up on the right, and all members starting on the right of center should end up on the left.

Tasks for the Instructor

  1. Set out carpet squares equal to the number of participants, plus one extra carpet square.
  2. Place the carpet squares an easy step from each other in a straight or slightly curved line. (Note – the curved or arced version allows participants to clearly see what is happening.)
  3. Have one group stand on the squares to the left of the center square; the other group stands to the right. Both groups face the middle.
  4. Issue the challenge to the group.
    1. Individuals may move to an empty square in front of them.
    2. Individuals may move to an empty space around one person who is facing them.
    3. Backward moves are illegal.
    4. Any move around someone facing the same direction as the mover is illegal.
    5. Only one person at a time may move.

Safety Precautions
Clear the area of any obstructions.

Variations for accomplishing the event
Set up a second traffic jam perpendicular to the first. Both lines must share one empty space. (This is known as the “gridlock” version of the challenge.)

After the event

  1. Lead a group discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of the group’s method.
  2. Have the group explore the possibility of a better or different way to achieve the challenge.

Possible COPE Elements