Cooperative Game: Lily Pads

Here's a fun way to get students working and strategizing together. It's adapted from Adventures in Peacemaking, by William J. Kreidler.  

Materials: 12 paper plates, carpet sections or place mats

1.  Divide the class into two groups and have students stand at opposite sides of the classroom, facing each other.  Explain that there is a river between the two groups.  Each group must cross this river by using lily pads.

2.  Give each group 6 lily pads

3.  Tell students that they must use the lily pads as stepping stones, but be careful because the river is flowing quickly.

  • The lily pads have the power to hold anyone safely above the river
  • No one may touch the river.  If someone falls off of a lily pad, he/she must start over.
  • The lily pads must be used constantly or the group may lose them in the river’s current.  (That is, there must always be a foot on each pad.)
  • The group may hold hands or find another way to stay connected to each other and the pads as they cross the river.
  • Lily pads that "sink into the river" will be removed.

4.  Allow students 15 minutes to try to cross the river.  Monitor the rules and quickly remove lily pads that sink.

5.  Afterwards, analyze what happened.  You might ask the students:

  • How did you group approach the challenge? 
  • What plan did your group create?
  • What was the most difficult part of crossing the river?
  • How did you feel about the way your group cooperated?