This activity is a highlighted activity from the book, The Hundredth Monkey, by Nate Folan and friends. Nate has given us permission to post this activity with full directions and diagrams as a way to showcase the type of activities that are in the book. Pick up a copy of the book today!
A classic in the making, Toll Booth Boogie drives individuals and groups to collectively meet at the same destination. Participants, or teams of participants, seek efficiency as they travel from point A to Point B through a series of hula hoops. This versatile activity has a myriad of potential learning outcomes and a host of variations.
Group Size: 10 or more
- Self-Awareness and Self-Management
- Relationship Skills
- Responsible Decision Making
Estimated Time: 30 minutes
- Numbered spot markers (1-30)
- 30 hula hoops
- 2 lengths of rope approximately 30 feet each to mark Start and Finish lines
- Establish a start and finish line using play rope or webbing.
- Create five rows of six hula hoops, a total of 30 hoops, between the start and finish lines. Place the hoops in each row in a straight line. The hoops represent toll booths.
- Place a numbered spot marker, a total of 30 spot markers, face down inside each hoop.
- Be sure that each row has at least one odd-numbered spot marker and at least one even-numbered spot marker.
“How many of you have ever been in a car heading toward a toll booth on a weekend or vacation week? Have you noticed how the cars seem to crisscross the lanes seeking either the open lane, lane with the shortest line, or the desired payment method? It seems problematic. Envision yourself as individual cars, yet a collective group of people hoping for a relaxing vacation. Your task is to find the most efficient way to get everyone through the toll booths, from Point A to Point B, and on to your well-deserved vacation!”
“Goal setting is a relevant way for a group to go from good to great. Revising a goal is essential for fairly challenging the group. Tracking a goal helps to accurately assess progress. During this activity, you will set, revise, and track goals while working as a team toward the most efficient solution to get from point A to point B.”
- Working as a team, participants attempt to move from Point A, the starting line, to Point B, the finish line, by passing through even-numbered hoops, or toll booths, as quickly as they can. Everyone must pass through at least one hoop in each row and may only advance to the next row after passing through an appropriate hoop in the previous row.
- To “pass” through a toll booth, each participant must physically move their body through the hoop, which requires the hoop to be passed from head to toe, toe to head, or a participant stepping through a hoop that is lifted and held vertically off the ground. Participants may not pass through a hoop while it remains on the ground.
- A hoop, after being used by everyone needing it, must be placed back on the ground around its original spot marker.
- Participants may not pass through an odd-numbered toll booth. If an odd-numbered spot marker is discovered, the participant who discovered it, as well as anyone else who notices it, must move laterally to another toll booth, hoop, in that row seeking an even-numbered spot marker.
- Spot markers, whether odd or even, may remain face up once flipped.
- The event is timed. Time starts when the first person crosses the starting line and stops when the last person crosses the finish line.
Provide an opportunity to plan and prepare after the first round and before each sequential round. Play three to five rounds.
- How would you describe your communication?
- What aspects of your communication, both as individuals and as a group, were most helpful?
- How did these positive aspects of communication affect your decisions and ultimately your solutions?
- Can you identify other aspects of your self – values, morals, strengths, limitations, cultural norms, etc – that may have impacted your decisions?
- What might this tell us about how we communicate and interact with others in our everyday lives?
- How would you describe your goal setting – increasingly challenging or less challenging?
- How many revisions were made to reach optimal efficiency? What went into making these revisions?
- What is the value of revising a goal?
- What are the benefits of a positive or challenging goal?
Encourage the group to move safely while attempting to move quickly. Moving too quickly may result in tripping over or through a hoop or webbing circle and could also result in damaged hoops.
Tips and Comments:
- This activity was inspired by many days of travel, especially those including at least one, if not multiple, toll booths and the fascinating driving behaviors that surround them.
- A few teachers who have tried Toll Booth Boogie early on have shared their students’ experiences. The information that was shared was similar. While playing Toll Booth Boogie, students from two different sites have developed the language of “carpooling” and “toll keepers” to describe specific solutions or roles. Carpooling refers to passing more than one person through a toll booth (hoop or webbing circle) at a time. Toll keeper refers to the individual who lifts, lowers, or holds the hoop in order for others to pass safely and efficiently. Processing either or both of these concepts would offer a group the opportunity to explore the concepts of caring for self and others and creating and sustaining a healthy lifestyle through social support.
There are many ways to vary Toll Booth Boogie depending on the overall objective, size of the group, or to provide additional challenges.
- Memory or Random Redistribution – Before beginning the activity, determine whether the spot markers will remain in the same place for each round or if they will be randomly re-distributed. Keeping spots where they are allows the group the opportunity to memorize or become more and more familiar with the pattern of even-numbered toll booths. Random Redistribution provides novelty for each round. There is value in both options, yet the facilitator, and subsequently the group, should be clear of the challenge prior to the first attempt.
- Odd and Even (Same Direction) – Separate the group into two teams. Start the teams on the same side with the same objective of traveling from point A to point B and passing through the hoops as quickly as they can. However, one team may only pass through hoops with an even-numbered spot marker, while the other may only pass through hoops with an odd-numbered spot marker. Teams can either compete or work toward a collective best, depending on the desired learning outcomes.
- Odd and Even (Opposite Directions) – Similar to the odd and even variation above, divide the group into two teams. This time, however, start the teams on the opposite sides with the objective of traveling from their respective point A to point B, passing through the hoops as quickly as they can, as described in the procedure above. Again, similar to odd even (same direction) one team may only pass through hoops with an even-numbered spot marker, while the other may only pass through hoops with an odd-numbered spot marker. Teams may either compete or work toward a collective best, depending on the desired learning outcomes. Participants should be made aware of the potential for collision and should do their best to avoid contact with other people to ensure a safe passing.
- Multi-Way Toll Booth Boogie – Larger groups may be divided into three or four groups and attempt to pass through the tollbooths from three or four directions. Again, teams can compete or work collectively for their best time.
- Webbing – Replace hoops with tubular webbing tied in a circle with a water knot.
- Pop Quiz – Replace numbered spot markers with Quiz Questions, Riddles, Rebus Puzzles, etc.
- Disabling – Inviting some participants to be blindfolded, wear earplugs, or be muted are always options for varying the activity and challenge. Doing so during Toll Booth Boogie, may result in significant learning regarding communication or interaction with people of different abilities.
- Change the Setup:
- Triangle – Instead of five rows of six hoops, place hoops and numbered spot markers in a triangle shape providing the group with many options initially and fewer as they progress.
- Inverted Triangle – Similarly, an inverted triangle could present the group with fewer choices initially and more as they progress.
- Diamond – A diamond shape of hoops would create a blend between the two, more choices in the middle and fewer at the beginning and end.
- Hourglass – An hour glass shape would create fewer choices in the middle and more at the beginning and end.
Tollbooth Boogie Setup Diagrams
There are many ways to vary Tollbooth Boogie. One way is to change the setup and, even within this opportunity, many possibilities lie. Below are five diagrams, including the original, listed in the activity write-up.