Team building is one of the most significant 21st century skills, which students require for both their academic and professional lives. Even though simple, this activity is a great way of initiating the process of collaboration and communication among them as students have to work in teams for more difficult activities. This is also feasible to conduct in schools with limited resources. Keeping the above points in mind, this activity requires students to make a sustainable model with the help of limited toothpicks and blue tacks.
Resources needed (For a group of 5):
30 minutes for ideation and creation
5 minutes for presentation per group
Ideation, communication, collaboration, teamwork, leadership
Instruction for Students:
Count the number of toothpicks you have. It is important to keep a count and design accordingly as you will not get more even if your design requires it.
Discuss within your team about the models you can create.
Make the most of your imagination in this phase.
Keep in mind the norms of discussion. Let others speak.
Make a note of all the suggestions coming in.
Discuss if the shortlisted designs can be built with the given toothpicks.
Make a rough sketch of the model on paper.
Draw the position of all the picks that you want to put in your design.
Keep in mind:
While each of you should participate, you should divide work among yourselves. If one person is responsible for building the model, others can help by organising the toothpicks and keeping a track.
* Condition: The model should stay erect!
Instruction for Teachers:
Distribute limited number of toothpicks and blue tack and observe how they work with limited resources. However, if you decide to provide more after the design process is over, distribute equally among the groups.
Observe the teams closely in the phase of ideation. Note, what the everyday objects are they draw inspiration from. This could be a talking point in other discussions. If you see discussions going a little arbitrary, guide them by giving them some key-words; however do not give away the whole idea.
Communication and teamwork
Observe how they collaborate with each other. Identify communication gaps, if any. Look at the team dynamics and power dynamics within the group. Do not let any one person dominate the discussion.
Once the students have all built their models, ask them to come forward and explain what they have made. It is okay if they could not come up with real-life replicas. Encourage them to speak about the process of ideation and collaboration they went through. In this way, this activity will also serve as an ice-breaker and make students more comfortable with the idea of presenting their creations.