Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Teamwork in 3rd Grade: Cup Stack

In third grade we've spent a lot of time on building positive relationships with each other.  We've noticed that the majority of conflict with these kiddos continues to happen outside at recess in less structured activities.  After our last lesson on being good sports, I decided we needed to strengthen our teamwork skills.  And what better way to do this than with the Cup Stack Challenge!

We began by clearly defining what we thought TEAMWORK is.  Then I broke the news that I was going to give them a very frustrating challenge today.  But, if they utilized the teamwork skills we just discussed - then they would find it less frustrating and be very successful.  They had 2 separate sculptures to build with 6 cups, 1 rubber band and 4 strings.  The only thing they could touch was their string.  If the cups rolled off the table, they went down to the ground as a group and used teamwork to get it back on the table.  If their elbow accidentally bumped cups already in formation, they had to pick that cup back up using only the manipulation of their groups strings.

After about 15 minutes most groups had created the first sculpture, and a couple groups were finishing their second design.  I left time for us to debrief on the experience since it is always an activity that brings up a wide range of emotions.  I ask them to rate their group on how well they worked together using the ideas we wrote at the beginning of the lesson.  I ask them what went well for their group.  I also ask them what didn't go well for their group.  We talk about different strategies and ways we an handle ourselves when things don't go the way we want them to.  Throughout the activity I walk around and facilitate positive communication, so I usually have a few examples to help springboard the discussion. 

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