Divide the participants into small groups and give them the following instructions: You have five minutes to figure out a way of cutting the sheet of paper so that it creates a ring – without any breaks or joints – large enough to fit over all people, and then to step through the ring (as a group). Depending on your purposes, situation and group, you can change this exercise in various ways, for example:

Hand out the cutting diagram to all participants. This should ensure that the activity produces at least one successful demonstration of the task.

Do not hand out the cutting diagram, but instead demonstrate the solution, and instruct the participants to remember it. This tests people’s concentration and retention.

Change the task so that the group creates a paper ring large enough to fit over the entire group – allowing for only one sticky-tape joint per pair of delegates. This allows for many different cutting solutions, because each pair actually only has to convert its sheet into a long stripe of paper rather than an unbroken ring.

Material needed

  • Sheets of paper (A4 or similar)
  • 1 pair of scissors per subgroup

A possible cutting solution

Fold the sheet of paper in half, and cut through both sides of the paper, as shown in the diagram:

  1. Cut 8-12 slits (8 are adequate – the diagram shows 12), from the folded edge up to about 1-2 cm from the open edge, each slit being about 1.5-2cm apart.
  2. Cut a slit between each of the slits described above, from the open edge to about 1-2 cm of the folded edge.
  3. Cut along the folded edge, but not the ends marked with blue circles. You should then be able to open the paper into a ring which comfortably fits over two people. Cutting more slits increases the size of the ring.

Annex: Diagram of possible cutting solution