Team Building Tuesday


Team Building Tuesday basically consists of an activity that takes place during the first 5 to 10 minutes of class every Tuesday. Every activity is designed to help students get excited about doing math, growing their brains and solving problems in creative, collaborative ways that also helps them to build their 21st Century skills.

Parameters for a successful activity

It must…

  • Be able to be done in 5 minutes
  • Need every team member to be working at the same time
  • Be easy to judge a winner
  • Allow for creative and multiple solutions
  • Have a super fast set up and tear down
  • Use materials on hand/reusable/cheap
  • Be fun and accessible for everyone


  • I’ve added some links for Amazon so you’ll have an idea but I’m not getting anything for it nor do I endorse any particular product.
  • 100 Red Solo Cups (The specific cups don’t matter. I like 18 oz.)  On Amazon
  • 1000 Domino Tiles (I split each color up into its own bag and write a team number on it. That way, each team knows what bag to get and I know by color what team didn’t clean up.) On Amazon
  • 20 pairs of scissors On Amazon
  • Tape
  • String
  • Rubber bands

Mathematical Practices

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  • Use appropriate tools strategically.
  • Attend to precision.
  • Look for and make use of structure.

21st Century Skills

  • Critical thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability and Flexibility
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
  • Judgement and Complex Decision Making


  • Start the video (Click here for all TBT Videos)and pause it so that resource managers have time to get the needed supplies.
  • Make any extra explanations that you think are needed but I intentionally leave them as open to interpretation as possible. There are many ways to solve every problem and the kids will surprise you.
  • Once every team is ready, start the video.
  • Circulate and encourage. During the first few challenges some disenfranchised students may be reluctant to participate, so some prompts may be necessary, but pretty soon all kids will start really looking forward to Tuesdays.
  • Give time updates and don’t allow teams to quit!!
  • Give a count down and when the applause sounds I usually say, “Time’s Up!!! Hands Up!!!” and then determine the winner. For domino challenges I video each one before they knock their first domino over.
  • Reward the winning team!!! I use my Math Games system but candy always works!!!

One comment on “Team Building Tuesday

  1. Wow Matt! I can just imagine being a student in your class and being really excited for Tuesdays with this activity. I love how you have created the YouTube repository of Team Building Tuesday (TBT) videos that other teachers can use. What a great product of your teacher research! I especially appreciate how you have designed activities that don’t require a ton of teacher preparation by reusing the same materials across activities, and I think your description of how these activities are math activities is so helpful!

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