It is important that students in middle school begin to learn the right and wrong ways of working with a team, as well as bonding with a team. In the future, these students will be required to work in groups, so it is important that they understand the value of working together as a team. One way to introduce students to team building is to have them engage in fun activities throughout the school year.
Murder Mystery Activity
Team building activities can often be incorporated into regular lesson plans, such as a during science class. Teachers can set up a murder mystery activity in their classroom, where students will collect data and perform tasks such as identification or fingerprinting, among other technical analysis. This requires students to work together as a team with the common goal of figuring out who was the murderer. Afterward, the group should write a report together on how they came to their conclusion.
Paper Bag Challenge
Another way to promote team building is to have students work together to create the best object they can. The teacher should give each group of students a paper bag with a variety of items inside (include paper clips, string, gum, tape, etc.). Instruct the groups to create the longest item they can out of the materials provided. Groups should then measure and chart the lengths of their objects. Students should discuss how communication and other people's ideas were used to create their object in the best way possible, and also how they could improve the next time.
Take a Stand
This activity gives students an opportunity to voice their opinion on "hot-button" issues. It also teaches them to appreciate others' views as well. Have students break into groups and give them several hot topics. For instance, suggest discussing the death penalty, health care reform or The War on Terror. Ask the group as a whole to decide if they are for or against these topics. The group must present their reasoning and give everyone an equal opportunity to voice their opinion.
A great way to introduce teamwork to middle school students is to have them break into groups and discuss the concept. Teachers should ask students to spend three to five minutes brainstorming what teamwork means to them. Then, students should come up with their own definition of teamwork and guidelines for being a good team and good team member. Have students write these goals and rules on a poster board, then hang the boards in the room as a reminder for the rest of the school year.
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