Gordian Knot


The Gordian Knot is a group challenge requiring participants to work together to solve a puzzle and to be physically close.  Both demands of this exercise are tricky for any group.  A group leader will naturally emerge, and participants will learn that, for the group to be successful, they will need to be patient, respectful team players.


This activity requires no materials.

Set Up

The Gordian Knot activity requires a flat, open space for a group of people.  It can be done with as few as three people, and as many as can group together to reach each other’s hands to start.

Teaching Directions

Ask the group to stand in a circle, put their right hands into the center, and grab someone else’s hand.  Once all hands are matched, ask the group to each put a left hand into the center and do the same.  Once this is done, the group in a human knot.  The group challenge is for participants to keep their hands clasped and undo the knot until the group finishes in a circle holding hands.  Participants will need to bend and twist to complete this exercise.  Note that a right hand ends up holding a left hand of another person, the result may be two smaller circles.


Repeat the exercise, timing the group for speed.  Alternatively, two groups can race each other to see who can undo their “human knot” first.


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