Student Engagement

Human Knot

Material Needed: None
Time Required: 15-30 minutes, depending on the size and speed of the group
Group Size: 8-200
Purpose: Team building, problem solving skills, communication

  1. If the group is really big, split them up into smaller groups. If there are too many people in a human knot it becomes extremely difficult. Groups of 10-12 are ideal.

  2. Arrange group members in a circle, standing shoulder to shoulder.

  3. Tell everyone to put their right hand up in the air, and then grab the hand of someone across the circle from them.

  4. Everyone then puts their left hand up in the air and grabs the hand of a different person.

  5. Check to make sure that everyone is holding the hands of two different people and that they are not holding hands with someone directly next to them.

  6. Tell group members to untangle themselves to make a circle without breaking the chain of hands.

  7. If group members break the chain they need to start over.


  • You can give teams a time limit on this activity to make it more challenging.

  • You can also mute/ blindfold participants throughout the activity.

  • Instead of making groups start over when the chain is broken you can create penalties like blinding or muting a group member.

Debrief/ discussion questions:

  1. How did it feel to be successful/ unsuccessful?

  2. How did it feel to be mute? Blind?

  3. What strategy did your team end up using to complete the task?

  4. Who were the leaders in this activity?

  5. Did the team reach consensus on a plan of action? What process did the team go through to reach consensus?

  6. How do you feel your team communicated during this activity?

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