Today I completed the 100 Activity suggested by Sara Van Der Werf as my chapter team-building activity. I basically followed the directions she provided. I gave the students 2 minutes to try the activity first. I think my team that got the highest was around 28.
Then the class stopped and discussed strategies that worked with their teams; this included things that may work better next time as well as looking at any patterns they noticed.
I had 2 teams of 3 and one team of 4, so the teams of 3 had a bit of a disadvantage since the pattern wasn’t easy to see.
We completed the activity again, giving 2 minutes this time. A team was able to get to 36.
We finally pulled together as a class and discussed the pattern they were seeing, then they had a minute to strategize about how they could use this pattern to get closer to 100 and beat the other teams.
We did the activity 1 more time. This time a team got to 50.
While students were working this time, I grabbed my phone and snapped some pictures of their teams and emailed them to myself.
While my teams were discussing things that helped them be more successful, I quickly posted this on the board:
Teams were shocked when I asked them to stop discussing and take out their notebooks to respond to the question on the board. Someone said, “How did you do that?” They were so engaged in their activity they didn’t even notice me taking their picture 2 feet from them!
After a few minutes of silent reflection, I had teams spend a minute sharing their thoughts on great teamwork, followed by a class whip-around in which I created the following lists (one for each class):
Wonderful discussions were had as to how students saw the characteristics of great teamwork in the images.
I found the idea regarding a competition with other teams an interesting comment, which made me consider how I can add this into my lessons without students beginning to turn everything into a race. I don’t want them to lose sight of the math.
After I complete this activity with my 7th grade classes, I plan to use the images and the list of aspects of a great team to create posters to hang in the classroom as reminders.
Though Van Der Werf suggests using this activity in the first week of school (I may do that next year), I actually loved the way it fit into this point in the year as well. It was a great reminder to students what it means to a great team member and how that looks within a productive team, which we all know can use a little boost in 3rd quarter!