Team building exercises are a great way to get students who don’t know each other well, and have not worked together in the past ready to act as functional and productive team mates. These should be fun team building activities for college students, but they must also have a purpose. Good activities help students learn cooperation, collaboration, critical thinking skills, and respectful conflict resolution. Team building can be enjoyable for students, and there is nothing wrong if there are moments of laughter and levity. However, the activities should also be challenging for students, and they must force students to work together to solve complex programs.
In this exercise, every team member is given a random picture. The student selected to begin first begins the story chain by displaying their picture and then incorporating their picture in the first few lines of the story. Each following team member displays their picture and continues telling the story, weaving their picture into the plot. This activity is a great way for students to get an idea of the ways that their team mates think.
This is a seemingly easy activity. Students simply line up in birthday order. The twist is that they are not allowed to speak with one another or write during the activity. Instead, they must use non-verbal forms of communication to determine who goes where in the line-up.
Depending on the size of the team, divide the group into two or three smaller teams. Then, give each smaller group a small task to perform. The trick, is to make sure that the each task conflicts with the other. For example, one group can be told move all of the chairs and tables against the walls of the room while the other group is instructed to move all of the chairs and tables to the center of the room. There is no right or wrong way to finish this activity. The point is to determine which route the students took. Did they compete with one another with neither group reaching their goal? Did they cooperate and find a way for both groups to meet their challenge at least to some extent? Did they collaborate and find do something completely different?
At the beginning of the session, give each team a raw egg. Let them know that one of their jobs throughout each team building exercise or challenge is to keep the egg safe. The team is not allowed to store the egg anywhere. One person on the team must be holding the egg at all times. If the person holding the egg is in danger of dropping breaking it, they must find another team member to hold the egg for them. This activity helps the students focus on a task even if they are interrupted with other obligations.
This activity is more cerebral and less physical. Give members of each team twenty minutes to sit down together and to come up with a mission statement. The mission statement should let others know what the team wishes to accomplish as they work together. As they go through this team building activity, each team should work on a deliverable such as a collage or team poster that contains their mission statement.
A final note. Many of these activities are enjoyable, but they are physical in nature. Anyone using these suggested activities should remember that they are obligated to modify them to accommodate people with all abilities.
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