The Circuit of Uncertainty

Cristina Gutierrez Leston

Emotional Educator, writer and director of La Granja Ability Training Center (

Age: 11 to 14 years old

Participants: 5 to 7

Time: approximately 1 hour

Goal: To become aware of what kind of emotions uncertainty produces in us, how we face the decision-making process, and how we manage errors and mistakes. 

Benefits: Teamwork skills training, decision making and tolerance to frustration through outdoor play and improving our awareness and emotional regulation.

Material: An outdoor space (school yard, park, etc.), 1 piece of white chalk to draw on the ground, 2 sheets of paper, 1 black marker, 1 trunk or large box, 10 boxes or envelopes (of a suitable size to put the following objects inside : a key, a mask, an apple, and a toy or printed image of a crocodile), 5 DIN-A4 cards, a box well wrapped in gift paper with a bow and a prize inside the box (it can be from a book for each one, an object that has a special meaning as a reinforcer, treats, etc.).

PREPARATION (20 minutes) 

1st. Draw a path on the ground with chalk, as a circuit, as big as you can. Include  curves, bridges (make it go over a river bank, for example), stairs, etc. The more difficulty, the better. At the end of the circuit place the gift box with the prize.

2nd. Take the 5 cards and the marker. On each write:

● 1 Helped Newton

● 2 They are removable and they are hooked on the skin to hide all day.

● 3 To cope with fear, I need…

● 4 We become this  when we feel angry or angry.

● 5 It can open everything, even our hearts

Then, place the 5 folded cards on the circuit in order, as a toll (1 at the beginning and 5 towards the end). To advance through the entire route and reach the prize, the group of boys and girls must solve all the puzzles on each card.

3rd. Take two sheets. On one, write the phrase “Emotional Awareness and Bravery,” and on the other, print a drawing or photo of a crocodile.

4th. Put the prepared material in a box or in an envelope (5 in total): the apple, the mask, the folded sheets (phrase and crocodile), and the key. Place the 10 boxes inside the trunk or the big box: the 5 that you have filled and the other 5 empty, with nothing inside (they will cheat). Put this chest near the entrance to the Circuit of Uncertainty.


Ask the group:

● What is uncertainty for you?

● When do you feel it?

● What makes you feel uncertain?

It can be explained that uncertainty (not knowing what will happen, not knowing the path or not having it marked) generates insecurity, anxiety, worry and even fear.

In situations of uncertainty, the lack of information pushes us to make decisions guided by our intuition and our sensations (and also by our unconscious biases). This makes us feel uneasy, because we fear making mistakes and, above all, not having things under control when we are educated in a techno-scientific system where only a few things are resolved by chance.

The responsibility of what is chosen weighs heavily, and the rejection of what is not chosen frustrates us. Do you want to understand it with a challenge?


The rules of the game:

Together and as a team, your goal is to reach the end of the circuit to get the great gift. But, to get to it, you will have to pass 5 tests, 5 riddles that you will have to get right to move on.

 The trunk will help you; it will give you the certainty of the answers. But there are some rules:

1st - You can only take one box per trip. If you are lucky, you will have the answer to the riddle. If not, you must return, leave the box, and take another.

2nd - You cannot touch the boxes; you decide which one you want from the outside. Once chosen, it cannot be opened until you reach the toll. If it's not the right one, you go back and leave it in the trunk without marking it or making any mark, and you start over.

During the activity, observe behaviors: From where they make decisions, types of leadership, how they manage conflicts, what emotions dominate the environment, etc.


 Emotional awareness and regulation, tolerance to frustration, patience, decision-making and teamwork. 


 Once the prize has been won, we invite them to applaud each other to generate positive emotions. Then we begin with reflection through open questions, about what was observed and what happened, making transfers to daily life. Some possible questions may be:

● What made you choose one box and not another?

● What happens to you not having any clues, any information? Has it ever happened to you in class or at home?

● What has worked for you during the activity? Not?

● Of what has worked, what can you repeat when you find yourself in a situation of uncertainty?

Finally, each young person writes a short sentence on a sheet of paper to summarize what they learn from this activity.