The Paper and Marble Games

It is not every day that you get an opportunity to imbibe loads of learning while having fun all along. But that is exactly what we have been doing at our innumerous Continuous Learning sessions.

Recently, we started this trend of having more than 1 activity at our Continuous Learning sessions and they have been an absolute hit with the team. 

So as usual, we were looking forward to enjoying more than one activity. Lakshmi Tanopi who led this week’s continuous learning session didn’t disappoint us at all. She brought forth two games that were completely different from each other. One involved a sheet of paper and other marbles. 

The first activity involved a sheet of paper. We divided ourselves into teams. 4 in each team. The challenge that was put forth to us was that the 4 of us had to stand on that piece of paper for a minute. Easy as that. But Lakshmi had other plans.

As soon as the 1 minute was up, she folded it into half. Now, the 4 of us in the team had to balance ourselves on this folded piece of paper. She did this with each sheet of paper after the stipulated 1 minute. She would fold it again and we would have a smaller surface to stand on and balance as a team. If anyone from a team stepped out of the paper or could not stand on the folded paper was disqualified.

The activity that started an easy note, got difficult after each stage. Sure, all of us had planned, strategized and thought about everything, but somehow things didn’t work out. Some of us had planned and strategized about lifting one or the other teammate so that we could all balance well as the folds on the sheet increased, but it was easier said than done. Soon, all the team got disqualified except the team that had Shubham, Abhilash, Avinash, and Subhodh. 

The Second Activity was relatively easier (not sure if we felt so after the first one). Lakshmi placed two bowls on a table – one filled with marbles and the other empty. All we had to do was scoop out the marbles with a spoon, hold the spoon in our mouth and put the marbles in the empty bowl and fill it up. Easy-peasy.

We were divided into two teams – boys and girls. Each member had to participate (of course, we all love to do that). We were eager to start. Wasn’t this supposed to be the easier activity of the two? This one turned out to be difficult as well. It was difficult to scoop out the marbles if you held the spoon straight as they rolled off. Eventually, a few of us tried holding the spoon diagonally and it helped. Everyone tried their best – scooping out as well as cheering on the participants. 

As with all activities, there could be only one winner and the boys’ team took home the trophy for the second activity. It was fun, a little exhausting and held a sack full of learning for us. As usual, we all huddled around and opened the sack so that we could imbibe and share the learning.

Bhushan loved playing the team game. For him, the first game was all about team coordination and team bonding and the second about individual performances.

Abhilash recalled how the first game was about teamwork, holding the teamwork (or the team together – literally and figuratively) and work in balance. He felt that the second game did not need strategizing.

Avinash felt that when the paper was bigger everyone could relax, but as the paper got smaller (which was synonymous with pressure) more coordination was needed.

For Shubham both activities were good. What he felt that in the first activity their team was able to balance better because two members had the similar physique. Balancing was good because two members were of the same physique. 

Jahir felt that the first activity was all about team bonding and the second one was about individual performance. For him the learning was that planning is important, but so is the implementation. 

Subhodh learned that team performance, planning execution, the strategy was equally important. For him, the second activity was all about individual performance.

Vivek had a different example to give – that of engineering, which they used when doing the 1st activity but somehow it failed because unlike engineering, it didn’t work with them as a team as it was not natural.

For the second activity, he asked if anybody else felt the marbles blurring from sight as they approached to scoop it out. When they said yes, he said that is how a project looks like – simpler from the outside, but as we near it, it starts to show complexities. The learning was that they have to appreciate what was not visible at the first go. 

He also felt that cheerleading was important in a team – it creates momentum and helps ease and distribute the burden so that people who out there to fight can do their best and not worry about carrying the entire weight on their shoulders.

Hina  felt that for both the activities balancing was of utmost importance.

Sakshi told us about how they had worked on the strategy but as the activity was nearing the end, they had to make haste and all the strategy was lost. She compared it with project delivery saying that towards the end there is not enough time to try out new things and you have to be one the feet to do what is best.

Astha didn’t take part in both activities but had a word of advice for the girls’ team. She felt that they did not learn from the mistakes and kept repeating the same procedure and that is why they lost. It was a good viewpoint from a 3rd party view that helped us look at things from a new perspective.

Blessy had a different point of view – she felt that the team should have been standing for 1 minute but instead of doing that they kept strategizing and eventually lost. Monali too felt the same as Blessy.

Sayali learned that when you are in pressure, it is difficult to implement strategies. She also said that motivation is very important.

Prajakta shared that teammates need to balance – so if a team mate’s efforts are less, others in the team should come together to balance it out.

Rajlakshmi said that at first, when the whole paper was on the floor, everyone was in their comfort zone. So as the pressure increases, the comfort zone starts vanishing. Same rules applied in life as well – we cannot strategize for every phase in life, but have manage as and when it comes.

Overall, we enjoyed, we strategized, we planned and we played. The best thing – we learned. Kudos Lakshmi for the right balance of activities!

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