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10TeamBuildingGamesThatPromote

CriticalThinking
09/26/2013,TeachThoughtStaff,15Comments
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Oneofeducationsprimarygoalsistogroomthenextgenerationoflittlehumanstosucceedintherealworld.
Yes,therearemoundsofcurriculatheymustmasterinawidebreadthofsubjects,buteducationdoesnotbegin
andendwithatextbookortest.Otherskillsmustbehoned,too,nottheleastofwhichishowtogetalongwith
theirpeersandworkwellwithothers.Thisisnotsomethingthatcanbecultivatedthroughrotememorizationor
withstrategicallyplacedposters.
Studentsmustbeengagedandcooperationmustbepracticed,andoften.Thefollowingteambuildinggames

importantlyprovideafun,muchneededreprievefromroutine.
10TeamBuildingGamesThatPromoteCollaborativeCriticalThinking
1.IfYouBuildit
Thisteambuildinggameisflexible.Simplydividestudentsintoteamsandgivethemequalamountsofacertain
material,likepipecleaners,blocks,orevendriedspaghettiandmarshmallows.Then,givethemsomethingto
construct.Thechallengecanbevariable(think:Whichteamcanbuildthetallest,structurallysoundcastle?
Whichteamcanbuildacastlethefastest?).
Youcanrecyclethisactivitythroughouttheyearbyadaptingthechallengeormaterialstospecificcontentareas.
Skills:Communicationproblemsolving
2.SavetheEgg
Thisactivitycangetmessyandmaybesuitableforolderchildrenwhocanfollowsafetyguidelineswhenworking
withraweggs.Teamsmustworktogethertofindawaytosavetheegg(HumptyDumptyforelementaryschool
students?)inthiscaseaneggdroppedfromaspecificheight.Thatcouldinvolvefindingtheperfectsoft
landing,orcreatingadevicethatguidestheeggsafelytotheground.Lettheircreativityworkhere.
Skills:Problemsolving,creativecollaboration
3.Zoom
Zoomisaclassicclassroomcooperativegamethatneverseemstogooutofstyle.Simplyformstudentsintoa
circleandgiveeachauniquepictureofanobject,animalorwhateverelsesuitsyourfancy.Youbeginastory
thatincorporateswhateverhappenstobeonyourassignedphoto.Thenextstudentcontinuesthestory,
incorporatingtheirphoto,andsoon.
Skills:Communicationcreativecollaboration
4.Minefield
Anotherclassicteambuildinggame.Arrangesomesortofobstaclecourseanddividestudentsintoteams.
Studentstaketurnsnavigatingtheminefieldwhileblindfolded,withonlytheirteammatestoguidethem.You
canalsorequirestudentstoonlyusecertainwordsorcluestomakeitchallengingorcontentareaspecific.
Skills:Communicationtrust
5.TheWorstCaseScenario
Fabricateascenarioinwhichstudentswouldneedtoworktogetherandsolveproblemstosucceed,likebeing
strandedonadesertedislandorgettinglostatsea.Askthemtoworktogethertoconcoctasolutionthatensures
everyonearrivessafely.Youmightaskthemtocomeupwithalistof10musthaveitemsthatwouldhelpthem
most,oracreativepassagetosafety.Encouragethemtovoteeveryonemustagreetothefinalsolution.

Skills:Communication,problemsolving
6.AShrinkingVessel
Thisgamerequiresagooddealofstrategyinadditiontoteamwork.Itsrulesaredeceptivelysimple:Theentire
groupmustfindawaytooccupyaspacethatshrinksovertime,untiltheyarepackedcreativelylikesardines.
Youcanformtheboundarywitharope,atarporblanketbeingfoldedoverorsmalltrafficcones.(Skills:
Problemsolvingteamwork)
7.GoforGold
ThisgameissimilartotheIfyoubuilditgame:Teamshaveacommonobjective,butinsteadofeachone
havingthesamematerials,theyhaveaccesstoawholecacheofmaterials.Forinstance,thegoalmightbeto
createacontraptionwithpipes,rubbertubingandpiecesofcardboardthatcancarryamarblefrompointAto
pointBinacertainnumberofsteps,usingonlygravity.
Creativecollaborationcommunicationproblemsolving
8.ItsaMystery
Manychildren(andgrownups)enjoyagoodmystery,sowhynotdesignonethatmustbesolvedcooperatively?
Giveeachstudentanumberedclue.Inordertosolvethemysterysay,thecaseofthemissingmascot
childrenmustworktogethertosolvethecluesinorder.Thecasemightrequirethemtomovefromoneareaof
theroomtothenext,uncoveringmoreclues.
Skills:Problemsolving,communication
9.4WayTugofWar
Thatplaygroundclassicisstillahitnottomentioninexpensiveandsimpletoexecute.Forauniquevariation,
setupamultidirectionalgamebytyingropesinsuchawaythatthreeorfourteamstugatonce.Someteams
mightchoosetoworktogethertoeliminatetheothergroupsbeforegoingheadtohead.
Skills:Teamworksportsmanship
10.KeepitReal
Thisopenendedconceptissimpleandservesasanexcellentsegueintoproblembasedlearning.Challenge
studentstoidentifyandcooperativelysolvearealproblemintheirschoolsorcommunities.Youmaysetthe
parameters,includingatimelimit,materialsandphysicalboundaries.
Skills:Problemsolvingcommunication
Whileeducationtechnologyisabasicandcrucialcomponentofthe21stcenturyclassroom,educatorsmuststill
ensurethatstudentsareengagingwitheachotherinmeaningfulways.Teambuildingexercisesareagreatway
todothis,andbecauseofthis,theywillnevergooutofstyle.

particularlypassionateabouteducationandworkplacenewsandtrends.SheholdaB.S.inJournalismfrom
CaliforniaPolytechnicStateUniversityinSanLuisObispoandisacontributortoseveralwebsitesincluding
OnlineSchools.com10TeamBuildingGamesForKids,Teenagers,orAdults