Building a tower out of recycled materials seems a far cry from what we traditionally see as activities to build skills for employment (also known as being work ready). But teamwork activities for students that encourage group participation and a shared goal are important in helping young people get work ready.
Firstly, spend some time collecting recyclable objects in your class. Ask students to bring in:
- cardboard boxes
- plastic bottles
- yoghurt and margarine containers
- cardboard cylinders (from tin foil etc)
This is really your first shared goal - being able to work together as a team to collect enough materials to do the teamwork activity in the first place is a sign that your students are already developing some skills which will be important for employment in the future. Also collect some 'joinables' - string, cello tape, masking tape, wool, pip cleaners, elastic bands. You may wish to use paint or colored paper to make an interesting addition to the team towers, but this is not an essential step.
Group students into small groups of around 4-5. Give them a challenge of making a 'teamwork tower' using the materials provided. Share the recyclables amongst the groups, so everyone has a decent pile of cardboard and other goodies. Set a challenge such as creating the highest, most creative or most artistic tower in a given time (eg. 30 minutes). Remind students to focus on teamwork, and award points for acts of teamwork or good communication that you observe. Give a prize for the best tower, and for the group which used the most effective teamwork to create their end product.
Follow up with a discussion on how this teamwork activity relates to being work ready, and encourage students to record their thoughts on the activity in a daily diary on buiding skills for employment during the year.