Sometimes your high school students can use a nudge when it comes to working together efficiently as a team. Group projects such as lab assignments, research papers and class presentations can be all the more fulfilling for your students if they learn to interact positively with their classmates. Because students -- especially shy ones -- can sometimes find it awkward to work with randomly assigned partners, your best bet to get everybody working together might be to engage your class in a team-building activity.
Write down the names of various animals on enough slips of paper to accommodate your entire class. Make sure to repeat each animal name at least three times. For example, if your animals are dogs, cats, cows, and donkeys, each of those animals should be written down on three or more separate slips of paper. Next, mix all of your animal papers up and have students each draw one slip from a hat. Make sure students keep their animals secret. Finally, instruct students to make the sounds associated with their animals and to use those sounds to discover the other members of the same animal type. Because they’ll be making animal sounds at the same time, students will have to raise their voices to be heard. This activity can be a fun way to get students working together in small teams.
To get students used to the idea of working together to share information, have the class form into concentric circles and instruct them to lock their hands. The students comprising the inner circle are to face outward, while the students in the outer circle face inward. This forces students to directly face their classmates. Instruct students to share one fun fact about themselves with the student directly opposite them. Speed things up by giving a 30-second time limit. Then tell students to rotate their circles; the inner circle can move clockwise. Snap your fingers to make the circles freeze. Students will now have new partners to exchange information with. Repeat the process a few times until everyone has spoken with multiple partners. This activity can help students learn to work together with random members of the class.
Two Truths and a Lie
This classic group activity will help students learn new, fun facts about each other while having fun getting creative. Have each member of the class share with the rest the class two true facts about himself -- places he has visited or people he has met -- and one lie. The rest of the class will then have the opportunity to guess which of the three statements was the lie. Students will quickly learn to dig deep for the wildest real-life facts about themselves in order to fool the rest of the class. Not only will this activity help students learn about their classmates, it also will have them work together to try to outsmart the speaker.
Balance the Egg
This is a fun group activity that will encourage students to work together to meet a specific challenge. Have the class break off into groups of four or five, and issue each group a regular egg. Challenge students to work with their group members to stand the egg upright. Because the class might at first doubt that this goal is even possible, you may wish to balance an egg on your desk before class begins. Make sure to do it before students show up, because it can take plenty of time and patience, as students will soon learn. To accomplish the goal, each group will have to agree on a plan of action and will have to physically work as a single unit.
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images