In fifth grade, children are beginning to understand fairness and how individual strengths come into play when participating in activities and games. Activities that provide an understanding of effective team building, improve leadership skills, and encourage cooperation within a group will also help fifth graders to improve confidence and social skills.

Defining Teams

Fifth graders should understand how teams are formed to learn the skills necessary for teamwork. Form teams of at least three students based on similar interests and explain that many groups form based on shared interests. Then ask each team to list on the board an item it could bring if the group was marooned on a deserted island and how it would be used to survive. Have the teams discuss how roles would be assigned to each member and what problems might arise while on the island. Combine two groups and ask how different the island life might or might not improve when a new group arrives.

Leadership

Activities that focus on taking leadership roles aid in team-building skills. The game Detective, for example, gives students the opportunity to assume leadership and team player roles. Write "detective" on five slips of paper and "leader" on one slip. Write "gang" on the remaining slips. Have students select a slip of paper without revealing their roles. Instruct detectives to leave the room. Identify the leader and instruct gang members to do their best to hide the leader's identity from the detectives. Call the detectives back and have the students stand in a circle.

Begin the game by instructing students to move in a certain way, such as marching in place. Hav the leader change the movement and the gang members follow. Detectives try to catch the leader. Tell leaders to change movement about every 10 seconds. Encourage the detectives to work as a team to identify the leader more quickly. When the leader is caught, reassign roles.

Cooperation

Cooperation is essential to team building. Activities that require fifth graders to move or think in unison aid in teaching how to work together. In a game called Blob, select one player as "it" to tag the other students. Once a student is tagged, have her join the blob and then the two "it" students join hands and move together to tag another student. Once there are at least four students in the blob, they can split into two blobs. Three-legged races, where students tie a leg to their partner's leg, challenge fifth graders to work together as a team.

Team Spirit

An important element of team building is team spirit. Capture the Flag is a game that encourages camaraderie and provides physical activity for fifth graders. Arrange students into two teams and use a marker to indicate the dividing line between each team's sides of a playing field. Give teams a flag to place in any location on their side of the field. Tell them to determine a jail area to place captured players. The goal of the game is to capture the opposing team's flag and bring it back to a team's side without getting caught. Explain that if a player is tagged on the opposing team's side, he goes to jail.

Students need to strategize and work together to protect their team's flag and to successfully capture the opposing team's flag. As the players work together to accomplish their tasks, players begin to build spirit and camaraderie as a team.