Solving problems in a fictional jungle setting

Learning outcome

To communicate effectively with team members

Key Stubbington focus

Teamwork - Communication

  • For Key Stage 2
  • Duration 1 hour
Success criteria
  • I can share my own ideas
  • I can explain what others have said
  • I can respond appropriately to what others have said
  • I can tell you our plan
Session plan

Walking the plank

Set the scene: the children are botanists searching for a rare orchid that provides essential medicine. The flowers are only found in this boggy area. The children will work in teams of 4 or 5. Each team has two planks (to spread out their weight in the bog), each of which has 4 or 5 hand holds. The children have to walk their planks from the starting line, around a cone (the orchid) and back to the start. If a team member touches the ground, they must go to the back of the planks and the rest of the team move forward one place.

Ask children what they will need to do before beginning this task - PLAN! If the group are doing this activity after shelter building, ask children to re-cap the steps involved in producing a good plan. If not, discuss what they would need to do during planning stage e.g. sharing ideas, agreeing fairly which idea to try, having a back-up plan, allowing everyone to have a say etcOnce they have started the task, how will they ensure they work well together? Discuss the importance of communication, encouragement, persevering, co-operation and any other qualities of a successful team the children come up with. Divide group - half stay at walking the plank, others head to adventure playground for ‘passing water’. Children at planks should be grouped and allowed time to plan their strategy together. Once a team have a plan, they should share it with an adult and can then begin. Did every member get a chance to say their idea? Can they explain the different ideas their group came up with? How did they decide which to choose?

Passing water

A scenario is created in which the children take on the role of medics, sent deep into the Amazon rain forest to save the lives of locals who have a fatal disease. The children have 2/3 containers of "medicine" (plastic pots of water) to carry with them through the ‘jungle’ (a circuit on the adventure playground) every drop of which is enough to save the life of one Amazon Indian. However, the floor of the ‘jungle’ is inhabited with deadly snakes and spiders and any part of any person that touches the floor is immediately bitten and their team loses one life. Children must stay together as a team and must not move on to next piece of equipment until all of their team are ready.

Remind children about the importance of planning. Get children into teams (4-5 per team) and allow them time to discuss and plan what they will do. Encourage them to consider the different obstacles and how they could best use their team members whilst keeping as much medicine as possible in the pots. Children should explain their plan to an adult before starting. Each team elects one member to count how many lives are lost whilst completing the circuit.The most successful team will be judged on this criteria:

  • how much medicine remains
  • how many lives were lost


Once children have started, they should swap activity after approximately 25 minutes. Children should be encouraged to resolve problems themselves. Make note of any good examples of teamwork which can be discussed at the end.


The post-activity discussions are an integral part of the team-building tasks.

  • How did your group work as a team?
  • Did all members of your team contribute to the outcome?
  • How well did your team communicate?
  • Which aspect of being a team does your group need to improve upon?
  • Did you find the activity easy/difficult and why?
  • Did you enjoy the activity?

Did any of the supervising adults notice any particularly good teamwork examples?

Less able children

  • More adult support for LA
  • Less water during ‘Passing Water’ section of activity
  • More hints for ‘Walking the Plank’

More able children

  • More water during ‘Passing Water’ section of activity
  • Smaller groups to encourage more teamwork and discussion

Previsit activities

  • Discussion - What is teamwork?

Follow up activities

  • Earthquake
  • Eggstreme Challenge
Health and safety checks
  • Adult to visually check equipment for defects before use
  • Walking the plank: Be careful that fingers and toes don’t get caught between the planks. If the planks overlap, someone says ‘stop’ and the planks are safely rearranged
  • Passing Water: Go around, not over, the scramble net. Check that suitable footwear is worn (not wellies). Ongoing safety assessment of activity in slippery conditions