Chemical Spill

Time needed

20 min

Supplies Needed

Tape or chalk, 2 buckets, water, various sized bungee cords

Logistical Instructions

  1. Tape or chalk 2 circles with 4-ft radiuses approximately 10 paces apart.
  2. Place one bucket in the center of each circle.
  3. One bucket should have the bungee cords inside of it and the other should be halfway filled with water.


Inside a radioactive zone (the circle) sits a container of excess radioactive material looking suspiciously like a bucket half-full of water. The material must be neutralized within a given period of time or the resulting meltdown could produce an ecological disaster. In another containment area (the other circle) nearby sits the neutralization receptacle. The device for moving the radioactive material was built by the lowest bidder, therefore, it has to be assembled by the team before it can be used. The only way to neutralize the material in the container is to construct the device and use it to move the can and pour the material into the neutralization receptacle. It is up to the team to figure out how to assemble the transportation device.

Some other rules you need to keep in mind:

  1. People who step inside the circle or touch the material or the bucket will be incapacitated due to radiation exposure.
  2. Everyone must help operate the device or it will not work effectively
  3. Spilling any material will result in dire consequences for the group
  4. The neutralization receptacle can not be moved
  5. You can only use the materials provided to you.
  6. Please ask me if you need assistance.


  • How did the group approach this task?
  • What adjustments were made as the team tried to complete this task?
  • Were all of the resources used effectively?
  • What role did planning play in the success of the group?
  • Who emerged as a leader?
  • What leadership characteristics were important for this team?
  • What do you wish we would have done, in terms of leadership?
  • How did communication, or the lack of, affect the goal?
  • Did anyone feel “lost in the shuffle”?
  • For those that could not talk, how did that affect the group?
  • What are the “radioactive chemicals” in the chapter?
  • How can we work to “neutralize” them?
  • Why is this activity relevant to an Executive Board?
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