Tricky Tales: A Cross-Team
Building Approach
1. To learn the difference between competitive and collaborative
team behavior.
2. To learn the techniques of cross-team teamwork.
A minimum of 16 people.
2 hours
A large room with four round or rectangular tables and chairs spread
out around the room so that the teams can have some privacy.
1. Four envelopes containing 3 x 5 cards prepared according to the
Directions for Preparing the Tricky Tales.
2. A copy of Teamwork Guidelines for each person.
3. A copy of Observer Guidelines for each observer.
1. Form four teams of at least four people each. Designate the
teams 1, 2, 3, and 4. Ask one person from each team to volunteer
to be an observer. Brief the observer using the Observer
2. Review the Teamwork Guidelines with the total group. Distribute
the envelopes to the four teams.
3. The facilitator makes it clear that the activity is not over until all
four teams have all the clues to their tale and the correct answer
to their tale.
4. The facilitator will tell the teams when they have all the clues and
if they have the correct answer to their tale.
5. When everyone is finished, the observers provide feedback to
their team and lead a discussion on things that helped and
hindered the process.
6. The facilitator leads a discussion on how teams can work
effectively with other teams. The session concludes with a
lecturette on cross-team teamwork.
50 Activities for Team Building
Tricky Tales: A Cross-Team Building Approach
1. The activity can be made competitive by changing the directions
to indicate that the first team to obtain all their clues and answer
the tale is the winner.
2. The facilitator can pull the observers into a circle in the center of
the room for a discussion of their observations and learning on
cross-team teamwork.
3. The tales can be changed to problems that are related to the work
of the teams.
4. See Activity 25, The Product Development Team, for a similar
50 Activities for Team Building
Tricky Tales
The Car Crash
Mr. Smith and his son were driving in a car. The car crashed. The father was killed
instantly. The son was critically injured and rushed to the hospital. The surgeon took a
look at him and said, “I can’t operate on him. He is my son, Arthur.” How do you explain
How ‘Bout Them Apples
A grocer has some apples for sale. One customer buys one-half of all the apples plus a
half an apple. A second customer takes one-half of the remaining apples plus a half an
apple. The third customer purchases one-half of the quantity left plus a half an apple.
The grocer is now completely sold out. None of the customers bought fractions of
apples. All purchases were whole numbers of apples. How many apples did the grocer
originally have?
The Loser is the Winner
Each of two people owns a horse. Each person insists that his/her horse is the slowest.
They were going to have a race to settle the argument but neither person would trust
the other would ride to the fullest without the slightest holding back of the horse. How
can the slowest horse be definitely established?
Sox Fox
There are 12 white socks and 49 red socks all mixed up in a drawer. These are
individual socks, not pairs. All socks are the same size and made of the same material,
so no distinction can be made by any of your senses. What is the minimum number of
socks you must pull out of the drawer, with your eyes closed, to ensure one matching
pair was among those chosen?

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