During the first week of school, it's necessary to plan team-building activities to get students well-acquainted with one another. These types of activities bolster problem-solving skills and help students understand the importance of working productively as a team even if they aren't quite familiar with everyone.
Today, my students participated in a team-building activity called "Help Harry!" The activity required them to build a perch on top of their desks for Harry, a bright-colored pompom with googley eyes, so that he could see more easily around the classroom. Students were provided with a supply bag containing 2 strips of masking tape (6-8 inches each), 2 index cards, 12 pipe cleaners, one baking cup, a sheet of foil, and of course...Harry! They were given 15 minutes to plan and build the sturdiest and highest perch.
As I walked around the room, I was extremely impressed with how well students communicated with their peers. They were willing to try out each other's ideas. If someone's plan didn't work, they didn't give up or become too frustrated; instead, they worked quickly to make the necessary changes needed to make their perches stand on their own. One group worked until the last second. Their perch fell over many times, but they persisted and eventually triumphed!
A few groups finished early, so I asked them to think of ways to make their perches better. For example, one group finished with close to 7 minutes remaining on the clock. Their perch was fantastic, but I challenged them to make it taller. Without groaning or complaining, they starting making improvements. They succeeded, and their refined perch was so much better than the first one! I commended them and said, "This teaches us that even when we think we've done our best, we can always do a little better." I was really proud of them! They were proud of themselves, too.
The final products were unique and amazing! Students hi-fived and jumped for joy when they completed the challenge. Everyone enjoyed helping Harry!
Visit the gallery for more pictures from this activity.