Work together for a common goal

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RollaBall! is so much more than a team building activity. This multi-faceted inter-team development exercise emphasizes the need for multiple departments to work together toward a common goal. This challenge is SO fun! Each team is challenged to create one-third of a runway that will carry a ping-pong ball from the starting point to the end of the line. Each section of the runway will look different and require a different set of resources.

At first, teams won't know whether they should compete or collaborate--most assume it's a competition. At the outset, they're asked a set of multiple choice questions, which get them started in assembling the resources they'll need to build a ball slide. Over time and through a series of coordinated meetings, teams find that all they need each other in order to succeed. The dynamics of the exercise make it an excellent negotiation game, but it can also be used for communication skills training, project planning, and more.


  • Practice working effectively within a team
  • Uncover assumptions about competition
  • Explore the advantages of collaboration with other teams
  • Negotiate for limited resources
  • Develop trust by sharing resources and information
  • Communicate effectively
  • Listening well to others

The Activity

Each team has to build one third of a runway to carry a ball from one end to the other. The three parts are:

  1. A tower and starting block plus the first section of the runway
  2. A longer piece of runway to include two curves
  3. An uphill section with a basket for the finish

Teams answer a set of multiple choice question to get the resources they need. Teams could share the answers with other teams but usually fail to do so. Nonetheless, each team will need to borrow resources from other groups or the complete structure will not be built. So why not share answers?

Once they have their resources, teams can begin building their runway parts - there is a meeting area where teams can discuss how the separate sections can fit together. The activity stresses the point that different departments need to work harmoniously together for success. What this means is sharing information readily and establishing good communications. Different parts of an organization are not rivals, they need to collaborate for success.


  • 9-21 (three teams of 3-7 per team)


  • 1 hour + debrief


Trainer's Role

  • Introduce the activity.
  • Divide the group into three teams.
  • Set up a neutral area for inter-team meetings.
  • Issue Briefing Sheets and construction materials when teams answer multiple choice questions correctly.
  • Observe the teams in action, noting behaviours. Often teams begin by trying to compete and by withholding information, whereas the whole point is to share information freely and work as one big team.
  • Bring teams together and test the completed structure.
  • Issue review forms and conduct a Debrief, rounding off with Action Plans for performance improvement.

Pack Contents

  • Trainer’s Notes
  • Team Briefs A, B & C
  • 20 Questions Forms
  • Team Review Form
  • A4 White Board
  • Ping-Pong Ball
  • Set of Resources: Sticky-Tape, Scissors, Rulers, Bag of Paperclips & Rubber Bands

This activity is for face-to-face classroom use. It is supplied as a hard copy pack and the digital files are supplied via the Northgate Trainerhub.

This Northgate training activity comes with a five-year licence for repeat use with up to 24 participants per training session within the license-holding organization.


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