By: Richard Godke
Objectives of Educational Workshop: Students will be able to identify 5 different factors that can affect the accomplishments of a team by the end of the workshop.
Team Goals: Build the best tower.
Group Size: From 4-8 participants per team that are random assigned.
Time requirement: 45 minutes is what the activity was designed for. It can be adjusted for as little as 15 and as long as 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Materials required: Each team (4-8 per team) will need a closed container that includes different and an unequal amount of building supplies. Make sure one is obviously more deficient then the others. Here are some of the possible building supplies: Paper Cups, plates, bowls, Scissors, Popsicle Sticks, coffee stirrers, pens, markers, pencils, construction paper, newspaper, cardboard, tape, stapler, glue, paper clips, string, etc.
- Ask the group if anyone has participated in this “Build the Best Tower Activity”? If they have, pull them out and use them as a team observer during the exercise.
- Count off around the room by the number of teams you have. Example, you have 20 participants and you will have 5 on each team. 20 participants divide by 5 per team = count off by 4s.
- choose a team leader, reporter, and pick up person.
All questions should be answered “Build the best tower”.
Facilitator should float around the room to observe team interactions.
Break up into your teams.
Each team needs to choose a leader, a recorder, and a pick up person.
Build the Best Tower, you have 45 minutes.
Pick up person needs to pick up one of the packets.
Two minute in, announce there is a prize for the winning team.
Ask the leader to come to the center of the room and report.
Tell the time schedule has changed you only have 15 more minutes.
Questions after building a tower
Debriefing the Activity
Use these debriefing questions as a guide for your discussion. Select the questions you feel will best benefit your group. It is not mandatory to cover every question. If possible, record the group’s responses on flip chart paper so all comments are displayed. Make sure to let everyone share their ideas, and remind participants that everyone’s opinions and feelings are important!
- How long did it take to get started?
- How did you choose the leader, recorder, and pick up person?
- Did everyone have equal involvement? If not, who took over who stood back? Why did you choose that role?
- How did leadership style influence the team?
- Did anybody get concerned about time?
- One thing your team did well?
- One thing your team did poorly?
- Raise your hand if you helped build a tower?
- What worked well?
- What challenges did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
- Did you build the tallest tower you could? Why or why not?
- How did the prize effect the team?
- How did the amount of time effect he team?
- How did losing a person change the team?
- How long did it take to get going?
- How did not having the same supplies effect the team?
- Did you assume that you were only supposed to collaborate with those in your small group?
- What would have been possible if you had decided to share resources with the whole group?
- Would you have had a taller tower?
- Why didn’t you?
- How did you come to the decision to collaborate?
- What became possible once you made the decision to share resources?
- What was challenging?
- How does building the tower in this activity compare to your daily work? or the way our group is organized?
- How does this activity relate to being part of the larger company, organization, or group?
- What did you just do together?
- How did you feel while you did the activity?
- What was one positive thing that happened during this activity?
- How would things been different if you had an additional half hour?
- What was one of the challenges of doing this activity?
- What did the group have to do or believe to be successful?
- Since you were not able to solve the problem, does it mean your group is a failure?
- If the tower fell, ask how it felt when the tower fell?
- How can our group do more with less?
- How do you feel now?
- What advice would you give to another group working on this activity?
- Did you try different ideas? If so, why did you change your approach?
When working with teams, you will be met with a lack of resources, time and cooperation. These items may change unexpectedly the team needs to be flexible and role with the changes. Organizing a successful team requires both planning and cooperation of all team members. Go out and Build your own Tower.
Here is another resource that may give you other ideas to conduct the same activities
Build a Tower