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Building Bridges


Divide the Pioneers into groups of three (with any remaining Pioneers acting as observers) and give each group the blindfold, building blocks and ruler.

The task is to build a bridge consisting of a ruler and wooden blocks. The bridge is to cross a river that is subject to severe flooding and therefore needs to be as high as possible. In each group is:

  • a consultant,
  • a chargehand
  • and a worker.

The consultant’s job is to design the bridge; the chargehand instructs the worker; the worker builds the bridge. The consultant speaks only with the chargehand, who speaks to the worker. The worker may not speak at all.

Ask the Pioneers to decide now who will fill each role.

The worker is blindfolded. The consultant designs the bridge in his/her mind, meets privately with the chargehand and verbally describes it to the chargehand. Ask the chargehand to collect the blocks and ruler and place them in front of the blindfolded worker. The chargehand now verbally instructs the worker through the construction of the bridge. The worker must use his/her non-dominant hand.

Allow three to five minutes for the completion of the bridge. The roles are then changed until every member of the group has acted out each role.

As a group, discuss what happened:

  • Did they successfully build a bridge each time?
  • Could the bridge have been built without the consultant?
  • What use are consultants?
  • How did each feel as a worker?
  • Did he/she simply follow instructions or take the initiative?
  • To what extent did the chargehand and worker co-operate?

Resources Required

A blindfold; 20 building blocks and a ruler for each small group (3 in a group).


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