Mousetraps

Mousetraps

Focus Skills: Communication

Mousetraps is a cooperation-based game designed to help students develop effective communication skills, trust, perspective-taking, and empathy.



quickrulesicon Quick Rules

Students are randomly divided into pairs. Once paired, each group is assigned to a play area.

The play area is a rectangular space with a hoop on either end. One hoop is assigned as the start hoop and the other is assigned as the target hoop.

In between each hoop are 5-10 “mousetraps”: basketballs (or similar) placed on top of a rubber ring or practice cone and scattered throughout the play area.

Once the play area is set up, players in each pair decide who will start as the mouse and who will start as the guide.

The mouse begins in the start hoop and wears a blindfold. Their objective is to make their way to the target hoop without setting off any of the mousetraps (i.e. knocking a ball off of its ring/cone).

The guide’s responsibility is to help the mouse get to the target hoop successfully. The guide may move anywhere within the play area but may not touch the mouse or any of the mousetraps.

To start their turn, the mouse puts on their blindfold and spins three times. Once they have done so, they may begin to make their way to the target hoop with the help of their guide’s instructions.

If a player makes it to the target hoop or if they set off a mousetrap, the two players exchange roles and start a new turn.

At the end of the round, the teacher forms new pairs so that students have the opportunity to work with other classmates.


buildicon Builds

Build One: Mice

In build one, players attempt to make their way from the start hoop to the target hoop without the assistance of a guide. The mouse begins in the start hoop while blindfolded and waits while their partner sets the mousetraps up in a scattered formation. Once the partner has done so, they tap the mouse on the shoulder to let them know they can start their turn.

Build Two: Guides

In build two, we introduce the role of the guide. In this build, guides may move along with their mouse partner and provide them with directions as the mouse attempts to navigate their way through the mousetraps and towards the target hoop. As mentioned earlier, guides may not touch their partner or any of the mousetraps.

If a player makes it to the target hoop or if they set off a mousetrap, the two players exchange roles and start a new turn.

Build Three: Distance Guides

In build three, guides may no longer move throughout the playing area alongside their mouse partners. Instead, guides must remain in the target hoop and provide directions from there.

Build Four: Language Barriers

In build four, guides no longer have to remain in the target hoop (i.e. they may move along with their mouse partner). The challenge of this build is that guides may not use language to provide directions to their partners. Instead, they must rely on sounds and other forms of communication to direct their partners. Just as with all previous builds, guides may not touch their partners or any of the mousetraps.

At the start of the round, partners may have some time to come up with a communication plan.


tacticalicon Grade Level Outcomes

  • Exhibits responsible behaviour in independent group situations. (S4.E1.4)
  • Reflects on personal social behaviour in physical activity. (S4.E2.4)
  • Accepts players of all skill levels into the physical activity. (S4.E4.4b)

questionsicon Discussion Questions

  • What was challenging about being the mouse? What about being the guide?
  • What advantage did you gain from playing both of the roles?
  • What role did trust play in this game? What about empathy?
  • How do you build trust with others? How can you lose it?
  • What did you learn about communication through this game? How could you apply that to other areas in your life?
  • What are examples of “mousetraps” that people face every day? How can you be a guide to others every day?

safetyicon Safety Information

  • Students are instructed to not run or jump during this activity (i.e. they may only walk)
  • If a ball rolls into another pair’s playing area, students must notify the other pair immediately
  • Students must remain within their playing areas. Playing areas should not use walls as barriers.
  • If possible, each student should be provided with their own blindfold.

equipmenticon Equipment Requirements

  • Blindfolds
  • Hoops
  • Cones
  • Rubber rings or practice cones
  • Basketballs or similar
  • Optional: SEL Capacity Cards
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