Why communication skills, problem solving and academic work need to be improved

Teamwork activities can help build relationships between students and the teacher that foster a positive learning environment. “Studies showed that small-groups had significant and positive effects on student achievement, persistence and attitudes,” reported The Pennsylvania State University in the online article Teamwork vs. Individual Projects, 2003-2007.

Try these three fun group building activities that can bring a class of unique personalities together, help them problem solve and offer quite a bit of positive social interaction:

Introduce Each Other Using Snacks

In advance, purchase enough different snacks so that there are only two of each item. Pair students up by allowing each student to reach into a dark grab bag to choose a snack. After each student has a snack, allow the students to find the student holding the same snack to pair with. Using the snack, the students have to introduce each other creatively to the class. Ask students to share complete names including the middle ones, pet names, favorite colors, favorite music, favorite television show, favorite subject, favorite sport, etc.

Put a Timed Puzzle Together

In advance, take tag board and cut into pieces to form puzzles. Put each puzzle in a large plastic baggie. Place students in groups of three-to-five people. Give each group a puzzle and a set time. The team who finishes the puzzle first wins a small prize.

The learning part comes when students are asked to write what their job was in the completing the puzzle. Ask the students, were you a leader, a helper, or a slacker? Why? How could you do it differently next time? Then have the group meet again and make a plan to put a different puzzle together with defined roles. See if the results are the same. Allow the students to talk as a group on how their team did in the end.

Build a Water Tight Container with Disabilities

Place students in pairs. Now give them the “setting” for their next adventure. They have crash-landed on a deserted island and are in need of a “cup” to drink water. One person is “blind” and the other person cannot use his or her arms due to the fact that they were both broken in the plane crash. Blindfold one person and make the other person keep hands under a table or at his or her side.

Tell the students that their paper, scissors and tape were left on the plane. Each pair needs to build a “cup” in less than five minutes with the items at hand. After the five-minute are up, bring the class together. Put each cup over a large bucket and pour water in it. The cups that hold water were a success and a treat can be given. Next, have students write a reflection of what they did correctly and what they could change next time. Also, ask them to think about what it would be like to not have use of their eyes or hands on a daily basis.

These three activities can help students work together better in the future and foster a positive work environment for the rest of the school year. Giving up small amounts of time to complete these activities can be fun for the students and have positive results that last the entire year.