Many educational activities require students to work cooperatively. To ensure that your students can effectively engage in cooperative learning, you should engage them in team building games. These easy-to-implement games do not require much space or many resources and can be helpful to students, as they allow them to practice their communication and cooperation skills and learn how to be a better and more productive team player.
Test students' cooperation and problem solving skills by engaging them in a puzzle race. To prepare this activity, purchase four or five copies of the same simple puzzle. Aim for a puzzle that is between 30 and 100 pieces in size to ensure that students can effectively complete the puzzle in a reasonable period of time. Divide students into teams, and give each team a copy of the puzzle. Tell the teams that they must race against each other to complete the puzzle, and that the first team to complete the task will receive a reward. Monitor students as they work as a team to complete the tricky task.
Sentence Scramble Challenge
Students must work cooperatively to unscramble a sentence in this team work game. To begin this activity, type up several sentences in large font. Print each word of the sentence on a separate sheet of paper. Make four copies of each sentence set.
When students arrive in class, divide them into four groups. Position each group in a different quadrant of the classroom so that they have space to work on the task at hand. Tell students that they are going to work with their peers to unscramble a series of sentences and that the first team to unscramble all of the challenge sentences will win the game. To start the activity, give each team a copy of the words necessary to make the first sentence. Ask the groups to raise their hands as soon as they have unscrambled the sentence by placing the papers in the proper order on the floor or desk. Once a group completes the first sentence, give them the papers for the second. Continue in this fashion until one group has unscrambled all of the sentences.
Make the game more interesting by composing meaningful or humorous sentences to challenge the student solvers.
Silent Birthday Lineup
Students work cooperatively, and silently, to line up by birth date in this simple team building activity. Explain to students that they are going to participate in a challenge. To complete the challenge, they must communicate with each other without talking. Instruct the students to line up by birth date, from January 1 to December 31 in the front of the room. Tell the students that they can accomplish this however they want but they can neither talk nor write. Allow students to get out of their seats and work on completing the perplexing task. Reward students if they successfully complete the task.
Continue the challenge by asking students to reorder themselves based upon other numbers, such as their house number or telephone number.