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Building Blocks Build Your Classroom's Teamwork and Cooperative Skills

written by: tstyles • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 6/6/2012

This is a simple yet effective lesson designed to enhance the cooperative/teamwork skills among intermediate level students on the higher elementary grades. It's easy and fun, the students really enjoy it, and the entire class will

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    Units on character education typically explore various ideas and activities related to teamwork and cooperative skills. This activity is excellent because the success of the team is based on how effectively each of the members communicates with one another.

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    If You Build It - They Will Work Together

    Teachers should first procure the materials needed - some building blocks or connecting cubes. You will need enough to create the model students will follow, as well as the amount needed for each team to recreate it, depending on how many teams you divide your classroom in to.

    Next, build a structure with connecting cubes and place it in a box. Now the fun begins:

    • Break the children up into teams of three (depending on classroom size) and give each team a box of connecting cubes.
    • One person on the team will be the observer, another will be the messenger, and the last one will be the builder.
    • The observers on each team stand at the front of the room and are able to view the hidden structure.
    • The builders sit in the back of the room with the connecting cubes and await news from the messenger on how to build the hidden structure.
    • The messenger relays messages from the observer to the builder about how the structure is put together.
    • The goal for the team is to arrive at a structure that looks exactly like the structure you created in the box.

    Once each team has assigned its roles, set a timer for fifteen minutes:

    • The observer will pass along instructions to the messenger who will then run them back to the builder.
    • The messenger will return to the observer for more directions.
    • If the builder has any questions for the observer, then he must ask his questions via the messenger.

    When the timer sounds, reveal the structure to the entire class and allow them to compare their structures to the original. How close did each team get? The teacher should finish this activity with a discussion:

    • What made this easy for some?
    • What was challenging about this activity?
    • What if the messenger didn't do his part in the task?
    • How did teamwork play a part in your success or lack of success with this activity?

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    By focusing on the teamwork aspect of this activity, your students will relate their success to how well they functioned together as a team. Note that this is not a competition between various teams. Children are never working against each other in the classroom if the goal is to build a unified and respectful community.

    Enjoy and let us know how your classroom enjoyed this challenge. Did you modify the plan? Give us your tips in the comment section below.