Synergy refers to the strength of teamwork -- the increased ability of doing a task when two or more people are involved. Being able to effectively work and solve problems as a team is important in all aspects of life, so introduce this concept to kids early. Various classroom activities focus on collaboration, problem solving and team building to help prepare students for group work in college and the workforce.
Hoola Hoop Pass
The hoola hoop pass is best for young children and can be done in class during circle time or physical education. Have kids stand in a line and hold hands. Choose one end of the line to be the starting point and place a hoola hoop on the arm of the child. The goal of this activity is for students to work together, with their hands still linked, to move the hoola hoop from one end of the line to the other. They must figure out effective ways to manipulate their bodies by communicating with each other. This activity shows the importance of equal participation within a group; if one person in the chain gets stuck, the task will not be completed.
Group Mind Mapping
Mind mapping offers a synergistic language arts lesson by allowing students to deconstruct a specific theme or symbol. Divide kids into groups of three and provide each group with a large sheet of paper or poster board. To create the mind map, have students write the theme or topic in the center of the poster. From there, have groups discuss the topic and draw branches coming from the center title and linking to examples, subtopics, quotes and ideas that support the topic. Though mind maps can be done individually, students will recognize how much more ideas they can come up with when they brainstorm collectively: Their peers have different perspectives and might suggest something they wouldn't have thought of on their own.
Solving Problems With Groups
Teach students how synergy can be used in real-life situations by presenting them with a problem that can be solved with teamwork. Have students consider the following dilemma: You own a bakery and a customer calls 30 minutes before picking up a birthday cake she had ordered. You then realize that the cake has not been made. Have students brainstorm how this problem could have been avoided and how teamwork can be used to get the cake baked on time. For example, the baking staff could have communicated better so the cake was not forgotten; to complete the cake on time, multiple bakers should work on it together.
Group Memory Excercise
Teach kids the strength of synergy when it comes to memorization through a group memory exercise. Write a list of 50 words and place it face down on a table. One by one, have each student silently study the list of words for 35 seconds and then return to his desks and write down all the words he remembers. Then, divide students into groups of three and have them compare their words. Though they may not have remembered many words on their own, students will notice that as a group they have remembered more words. This is a way to demonstrate that the collective memory is stronger than individual memories and that group work can be beneficial for tasks such as studying and in-depth analysis.
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