Sunday, June 10, 2007

Legos and teamwork

I tend to involve students in a lot of teamwork activities. Besides determining "rules of engagement" and making decisions about how teams and individual team members will be assessed (please see the "Creating structures for effective groupwork" post on May 16, 2007), I think it helps to involve students in teamwork activities early on that are low-stress and serve as teamwork practice. One of the activities I like to do in an on-campus course is give each team a bag of Legos. I give them 20 minutes to create something with the Legos that serves a purpose beyond artwork. Then they have an additional 10 minutes to prepare their pitch -- what their creation is called, what the catch phrase used in all marketing materials will be, who their audience is, and how they will market it. Then they give their presentation to the rest of the class. After all of the presentations are done, I have the groups spend 5-10 minutes debriefing what worked and didn't work regarding their collaboration, and coming up with 3 lessons learned about collaboration. Each group shares their lessons learned, and these lessons are later reviewed and incorproated into the "rules of engagement" team contracts.

Besides being a fun activity that gets the creative juices flowing, it helps bring to light some aspects of collaboration that teams need to address early on to make sure they are both effective and efficient in the work together.

1 comment:

jdunlap said...

I used Legos the other night in class for a different reason than described in the original post. I asked pairs of students to discuss their views on a reading while at the same time create something using the Legos that they will present to the group. My goal was for students to experience three issues we had been studying and discussing in an Adult Learning and Education course: (1) our learners' (in particular, Generation Ys and Millennials) ability to multitask, (2) differences in learning preferences and how to negotiate that when working with others, and (3) the differences in task-oriented and learning-oriented focuses during instructional interactions.

It was effective in illustrating the points.