Today in first grade we discussed the importance of working together as a team. Groups were given the challenge of building a structure that supported a plastic egg. Students worked together in groups of four to try to build the tallest tower they could with a limited amount of materials. This was a similar challenge to one we had tried earlier in the year with spaghetti and marshmallows.
Working together on a task proves to be challenging for all students. We have to think about how to get our ideas across while listening to others. We have to compromise (the limited materials force this issue). We have to take risks and try things again. We have to realize that we will not always immediately accomplish our goal.
I have been reading a lot of academic articles recently about how many findings show that group work allows students to grow beyond their individual skills. Although this may be true, it is apparent from our work in enrichment that this will only come to fruition by the development of successful teamwork skills. I hope that through activities such as this one and others that students will begin to develop an ability to work together. Next we will process our experience and try to figure out how we can improve our collaborative experiences. I think students will learn best from each other and I look forward to this discussion.