The technical rules are explained to the group: everyone’s index fingers MUST remain in contact with the stick all the time, and the stick must rest on top of their fingers all the time (no grabbing, finger curling, etc.). The participants point their index fingers and hold their arms out at waist level. Then they lay down the stick on their fingers and at that time, the group must work together to lower the stick to the ground. Depending on stick length and number of team members, line up the participants in one row or in two rows facing each other.

Warning: The tendency is, particularly at the beginning, that the stick ‚floats‘ up, hence the name of the activity, causing laughter, frustration, or confusion. The rise is caused by the upward pressure put by the group members as each try to remain in contact with the stick.

Debriefing questions

  • Why did the stick rise when you wanted it to go down?
  • Did you anticipate the problem?
  • How did you fix the problem?
  • What would an outside observer have seen as the strengths and weaknesses of the group?
  • Which roles did each person fill?
  • Which roles were not filled?
  • Which roles were competed for?

Material needed

  • 1 long, rigid, thin, lightweight stick (e.g. a tent pole)