Team Building Exercise: Snakes and Plates

Team Building Exercise: Snakes and Plates


In this team building exercise, delegates work together to complete a task. It requires concentration, planning and fast execution. Here, the decisions made by one team can affect the performance of another so planning has to be as dynamic as the changing environment. This exercise is ideal to train people on quick decision making, leadership, persuasion skills and team work.


Visit each number in sequence with your team while adhering to the rules.

What You Need

  • A large clear area about 9 m by 9 m
  • Masking tape
  • 20 paper plates. You need to number these from 1 to 20.


  • Place the paper plates on the floor similar to the image shown above. It is your choice how to position the numbers. The choice can influence the difficulty level of the exercise.
  • Use masking tape to mark up the area. You should also use the masking tape to tape the plates down so they don’t get kicked around easily.
  • Divide the delegates to two teams of about 10 people or less.
  • Explain that the objective of the exercise is that each team needs to enter the area and visit the numbers in sequence. The rules are as follows:
    • Team A should start from Location X and end in Location Y. Everyone must be behind the marked line at the end. Team B should do the reverse.
    • Team A should approach the box and start from 1 and visit the sequence until 20. Team B should go through the reverse sequence starting at 20 and down to 1.
    • Each team should form a line where members hold each other’s hands for the duration of the exercise.
    • For Team A, the leader of the line should enter the area and aim for plate 1 and touch it with his foot. He should then aim for plate two. The next person in line should also touch plate 1 and so do all others in the team in sequence while the leader is reaching for plates 2, 3, and so on. Hence, by the end of the exercise each team member should touch the entire sequence from 1 to 20.
    • Teams should hold hands at all times.
    • Teams cannot go through each other and will need to find their way around each other. This makes the exercise much more challenging as they get blocked by each other and adds to the dynamic nature of the exercise.
    • If you made mistakes, simply correct it. The time lost would be your penalty.
  • Explain that the team that finishes first wins. This is the first team that come off the area completely where everyone has touched the numbers in sequence.
  • On your mark start the exercise.
  • Observe how each team approaches the problem and makes decisions.
  • Allocate 10 to 20 minutes for this exercise depending on the size of the area and the number of delegates.
  • Even if one team finishes completely, let the other team continue to finish the sequence as well.
  • Declare the winning team.


Explaining the Exercise: 10 minutes

Activity: 10 to 20 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


How did you approach the problem? Did you plan ahead or just start to go through the sequence? Was it easy to hold the formation as you went through the sequence? How was team communication and coordination? Did you assign anyone specific as the leader of the group who was at the front of the line or did this happen randomly? Was the choice of the person good for the purpose of this task?

Did you get blocked by the other team? Was it easy to find your way around them? Did you use the blocking as a strategy to slow down the other team while not slowing down yourself? Did your team make any mistakes? Overall, how do you rate your own team’s performance? If you had a chance to go through this exercise, what would you do differently?

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