Beat the clock with team skills
Students work to solve a group challenge with incremental performance goals. You’ll see students employ many skills to achieve this challenge. To ensure that the activity meets the objectives, keep the framing and reflection time focused on the skills and attitudes students used to work through the challenging task.
- Rope or tape to mark a circle on the ground
- 25 “spots” with numbers 1 – 25 written on them (cut paper, paper plates, foam spots)
1. Randomly lay out up to 25 numbered spots within a circled off area. This forms the “keypad”.
2. Students should circle up around the keypad outside of the boundary.
3. Next, share the objective of this session: students will develop successful strategies to use when they encounter a team challenge.
4. Discuss the many ways things can be challenging: physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, spiritually. Share that this particular challenge may feel challenging in any of those areas for particular students.
5. Frame the activity by asking to students to share positive feelings or thoughts that come up when they hear that they will be challenged. You may hear: courageous, excited, I’ve got this.
6. Next, ask students what negative feelings or thoughts that come up when they hear that they will be challenged. You may hear: nervous, bored, afraid.
7. The objective of the activity is for the group to touch all the numbered spots as fast as they can.
8. Here are the rules:
• The numbers must be touched in order 1 to 25. They can be touched with the foot or hand or however.
• Every person in the group must be involved in the activity by touching at least one number.
• Only one person is allowed into the circle at a time—if two or more people are in the circle, the group will get 5 seconds added to their time.
9. Allow for any questions and clarifications, and allow for some planning time if students would like it.
10. When the group is ready, say “go” to begin the time.
11. Observe carefully for mistakes and group behaviors.
12. Once the team completes this initial round, stop the time and record it. Celebrate the success!
13. Next, share that the group will given two additional attempts to improve their time. They must complete each successive attempt in less time than the previous attempt.
14. Allow time for students to strategize and plan. Once they are ready, say “go” to begin the time.
15. Continue to observe for mistakes and group behaviors. After each round, note the time.
1. Lay the number spots face-down randomly on the ground within the specified perimeter.
The group will stand on the outside perimeter. Challenge students to pick up all of the cards in sequence from 1 through 25, flipping one card at a time, as quickly as possible.
• The group is permitted to have one person inside the perimeter at any point in time.
• When a card is picked up, if it is not the next card in the sequence, it must be placed back down. Otherwise, the person inside the perimeter will collect and keep the card.
• Team members should assist their peer inside the perimeter, eg point, talk, etc.
The task continues until all cards have been picked-up in order.
Repeat the task several times aiming to record the fastest possible time.
- Be okay with the messy group process of learning.
2. Allow students to struggle through, self-correct, and then reflect back on their responses.
3. Try not to manage the process, but let students learn as they go, the goal being to provide moments of self-reflection and growth afterwards.
1. Circle up the group for a reflection on the activity. Begin with basic questions such as:
• What was fun?
• What was frustrating?
• How did you feel during that activity?
• What role did you take?
• What teamwork skills helped us succeed?
2. Ask students to recall what the objective of this lesson was: students will develop successful strategies to use as they encounter a challenge.
3. Shift the reflection towards challenge:
• What was challenging about this activity?
• What was hard/frustrating/difficult?
• Finish the sentence: I noticed that when things got hard I/we __________.
• What strategies did you notice the group used to get through the challenge?
• What strategies did you notice YOU used personally to help you through the challenge?
• Finish the sentence: something I use to overcome difficulty is __________.
4. Depending on where the conversation takes root, wrap up the activity by asking students to look for other times during the week they can use the same strategies that they discussed, or, times they are prone to use unhelpful strategies.