Web of Strings

This exercise is intended to be fun and highly collaborative. To complete the required task, participants must work together and be mindful of each other's needs.

How

This activity can be done in an open space or on a table top depending on how large your group is and how they prefer to work. You will need several strings, two empty containers heavy enough to resist small knocks or bumps (heavy mugs, bowls, boxes, etc.), and one object that can fit inside each of your containers and that will not roll too easily (hacky sack, toy, notebook, pen, etc.).

Tip: try to include participants with a broad range of needs and preferences. The more diverse your group is, the more challenging and more meaningful the activity becomes.

Tip: to calculate how many strings you need, divide the number of participants in your group by two. If you have an uneven number, you can tie one half a string to the middle of another string and lay it out so it is perpendicular to that string.

Tip: you need to match the size and weight of the object you are moving with the density of the web. The more strings you have, the denser your web will be, and the heavier the object it can hold.

Preparation

  • Place the empty containers at least 1 ft from each other. The further away the containers are from each other, the more challenging this activity becomes.
  • Lay out all of the strings so that they intersect at the middle, with the intersection point lying over top of one of your containers (see Figures below).
  • Place the object on the intersection point of the strings, in the first container.
  • Each participant holds one end of a string.

Tip: the strings do not necessarily need to be held by hand. For example, a participant may use their mouth, or the end of a string can be attached to a wheelchair.

Challenge

Work together as a team to transfer the object from one container to the other one without dropping it, by collaboratively lifting and moving the web of strings.

Tip: if there are members in the group that require audio description, make sure to describe the direction of movement, the state of the object, the distance to the other container, and anything else that might help them to participate fully.

Tip: feel free to explore creative ways of working together with your group to complete this challenge.

Why

This activity helps to make the experience of working collaboratively toward a common goal more tangible. The task requires that no one person overpower the others. Participants learn how to move in unison to keep the object from falling or rolling off the web, focusing on moving to the destination while working closely with each other.

A diagram showing 8 evenly-spaced straight lines that all intersect at their mid-point, creating a kind of giant asterisk or starburst. The lines are labeled with numbers 1 through 8. Underlying the intersection point there is a circle labeled "first container" and a short distance away there is a second circle labeled "second container". Lying on top of the intersection point is a smaller circle labeled "object". Text reads "8 strings set up for 16 participants".
Figure 1: Preparatory layout for the web of strings activity. Each participant controls one end of a string, either by holding it in their hand, attaching it to their wheelchair, or in whatever way works best for them. The object is collaboratively transferred from the first container to the second using only the web of strings.
An image showing a several blue strings laid out on the floor, all intersecting at their midpoint and forming a web in the shape of a large asterisk. The central intersection point of the strings lies on top of a white bowl, and an orange ball lies on top of the intersection point of the strings. Nearby sits another white bowl of the same size.
Figure 2: Preparatory layout for the web of strings activity.
An image showing a closeup view of the intersection point of the web of strings raised above the floor, on which balances an orange ball. On the floor below a white bowl can be seen, as well as several participants standing in the background holding the ends of the strings.
Figure 3: Close up view of the web of strings in action.