Activity 7: The Cube


  • Brainstorm and communicate problem-solving strategies to move members through cube
  • Support members to move through the cube
  • Discuss their experience and feelings

Character Focus

Trust & Caring


Time: 5 minutes
1 Toobeez cube (made from two foot long tubes)
5 gallon bucket
1 envelope
chart paper (optional)

  1. Place the Risk Taking Note into an envelope.
  2. Create a cube using eight of the 36-inch tubes and eight of the 16-inch tubes (to create four long tubes). Refer to the photograph.
  3. Balance the cube on the bucket as pictured

Special note: Jim Cain, author of “Teamwork & Teamplay,” first introduced this activity to the author of this book.

The Challenge

The entire group must work as team to earn points by moving through the cube through unique pathways.

Safety Reminders!

Appropriate caution is important to conduct these activities in a safe manner. Be sure to review these reminders prior to beginning the activity, and if necessary, share reminders with the group during the activity.

  • Proper spotting techniques must be reviewed prior to starting this challenge (refer to the beginning of this activity guide).
  • It is ideal to have cushions or pads placed under the Toobeez structure to minimize the effects of a fall.
  • All participants must be spotted as they travel through the cube.
  • If your group is not physically strong enough, mature enough and/or calm enough, do not attempt this activity.

Helpful hints

  • Some groups may want to practice passing people through the cube prior to actually starting. Note: Allowing the group to practice on the cube itself can take away some of the unknown aspects of the activity. Consider setting limitations on the practice (time, number of tries, etc.)

Activity Instructions

  1. Circle up the group. Distribute or display the appropriate “Risk Taking Note” for the activity. Have one participant read it aloud twice. Provide a few moments for the participants to think about the message:
    “One of the greatest pleasures in life is doing what people say you cannot.” – Walter Bagehot
  2. Share the following storyline with group.
    You are all different types of animals that have been lost in a large forest. The only way to get home is to help all the animals through this cube-shaped tree. The more points you gain, the more strength you will gain for the journey home.
  3. Read aloud the following Activity Challenge Box to the group.
    Challenge: The entire group must work as team to earn points by moving through the cube through unique pathways. Follow the guidelines below:
    • Each team member must pass through the spider’s web using his/her own unique pathway. Once a pathway is used, that unique sequence of travel cannot be used again
    • The cube may only be supported by the bucket base and it may not fall over
    • Anyone traveling through the cube must be spotted
    • Participants may not jump or dive through cube pathways
    • Team members may not be launched through the cube
    • No additional equipment may be used
    • The group MUST complete this activity in a safe manner or the activity will be stopped
    • If any guidelines are broken, the group may be given a penalty (see step #7)
  4. Gather the team around the cube and explain the point system.
    • One point is earned when passing from a lower hole to a lower hole.
    • Two points are earned when passing from a lower hole to an upper hole.
    • Three points are earned when passing from an upper hole to an upper hole.
  5. Before the participants attempt an activity challenge, have the group work through the following six steps:
  6. Problem Solving Sequence:

    1. Circle up
    2. Know and understand the challenge and the guidelines
    3. Brainstorm
    4. Make a plan
    5. Do the plan
    6. Evaluate results and adjust as necessary
  7. Be sure to monitor the group for safety as they attempt the activity
  8. If a touch occurs, choose one of the following penalties: A) everyone starts again, B) only one person has to travel back through, C) the group may not communicate verbally for five minutes, or D) a combination of these.
  9. If participants get stuck, have the students circle up again. Here are some suggested questions to help guide the group back on track*:
    • What is working?
    • What ideas have you not tried yet that someone suggested?
  10. If your group is still struggling OR if you feel your group would benefit from an additional challenge, present a variation provided on the next page.
  11. After the activity, move to the debriefing questions for discussion.

Activity Variations

  1. Add an obstacle.
    Add an obstacle. Hang a string from the top center of the cube (about 24 inches long). The team may not touch the string during the activity.
  2. Hang the cube.
    Instead of balancing the cube, hang the cube from something (for example, a tree limb). Ask the group to travel through the cube as described in the rules.

Debriefing the Activity

Use these debriefing questions as a guide for your discussion. Select the questions you feel will best benefit your group. It is not mandatory to cover every question. If possible, record the group’s responses on flip chart paper so all comments are displayed. Make sure to let everyone share their ideas, and remind participants that everyone’s opinions and feelings are important!

Base questions for debriefing:

  • How did you feel while you did the activity?
  • What was one of the challenges of doing this activity?
  • What did passing people through the cube signify?
  • What advice would you give to another group working on this activity?
  • How can you apply what you just learned to other challenges you face?

If the group was unable to complete the task in the given time:

  • Since you were not able to solve the problem, does it mean your group is a failure? (Push the group to respond with more than a “yes” or “no” and to instead point out and discuss what they learned.)

Additional questions: Choose which ones are the most appropriate:

  • What was one positive thing that happened during the challenge?
  • How do you work to keep improving your work with others?
  • Did you try different ideas? If so, why did you change your approach?

Close on a Positive Note

Sum up the different ideas and feelings that you heard expressed, and restate ideas and learning moments the participants shared. Then, read the Risk Taking Note out loud again, and ask people to discuss what they think this note means. Discuss what they thought it meant at the beginning and what they think it means now.

* (ˆ) Do not provide the participants with answers. Allow them to work together.