Classroom Game: Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam is a team game that requires problem solving, group work and communication. You can use it at the beginning of your training session or in the middle.

Download PDF Download the activity handout here.


When to Use

Use this game when your learning objective is any of the following:

  • Explore the process of group problem solving
  • Understand how learning from mistakes and careful observation can solve complex problems
  • Appreciate the importance of communication during group problem solving
  • Understand the importance of idea generation during problem solving
  • Appreciate the importance of process documentation for acheiving repeatable results


Minimum: 8
Maximum: 20


30 to 45 minutes


  • Chairs or sheets of paper (preferably in two colors) to mark positions for the two groups.


  • Arrange two rows of chairs facing each other. The number of chairs should be equal to the number of participants. For larger groups, create parallel setups. Keep one facing the two rows at one end (see attached game instruction sheet).


  1. Divide the class into two equal groups. If there are uneven number of participants, ask one participant to become the observer.
  2. Ask participants to take position on.
  3. Discuss the rules of the game as provided below.
  4. Allow participants to think through the problem and clarify doubts by asking questions.
  5. Tell participants that whenever they feel they are stuck or cant proceed, they can shout out ‘Reset’ and start over from their original position.
  6. Tell participants that they can Reset the game as many times as they would like.
  7. Begin play.


  1. Players sit face to face on chairs (as shown in the diagram). One empty chair is placed at one end . The participants on either sides are grouped as Group A and Group B
  2. The objective of the game is for Players to switch positions with the opposite group. Additionally they must face the same person that they were facing at the beginning of the game.
  3. The group to the left is allowed to move in a clockwise direction and the group to the right can only move in the anti-clockwise direction. Reverse movements are not allowed.
  4. The only 2 valid moves are Slide and Skip. Sliding is the act of moving to an empty chair adjacent to a player while Skipping is a move in which a person skips over a single player to occupy an empty chair. Both Skip an Slide have to be done in the direction permitted as per Rule 3.
  5. Instructor calls out ‘Reset’ when players want to go back to starting position. Players can Rest the game as many times as the like.

Learning Connection

Once the game is over, the facilitator can lead a discussion by asking the following reflective questions:

  • What went well, what did not? Did the whole group pull together as a team?
  • Were all ideas heard and tried out? Why or why not?
  • Did learning emerge as the game progressed? Were they documented?
  • Did the team brainstorm new ideas?
  • Did the team break-up into smaller groups to try out several ideas in parallel?
  • Once the solution was reached, was the learning diffused amongst everyone? Were all team members aware of the solution? Could any team member be called upon to direct the team once the solution had been reached? How could the results be made repeatable?
Have fun playing this game in your classroom and let us know how it went.
Download PDF   Download the activity handout here.

Ajay Dasgupta

Ajay Dasgupta is the co-founder and VP, Global Sales at Epiphany Learning. In a career spanning over 18 years he has worked with several large organisations and implemented learning strategy and learning programs. While he focuses on learning strategy, technology and marketing, he his still an instructional designer at heart. He can be reached at -

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