One of our goals in education as teachers is to groom our students for success in the real world. In order for learning to occur, students must be engaged, motivated and their critical thinking skills be developed. Here are 5 team-building games that promote critical thinking and will engage and motivate students to learn:
- Save the egg:
WARNING: this activity can get messy and is only suitable to be played by older children who are able to follow safety guidelines when dealing with raw eggs. In this game, teams of 3-4 students must work together to find a way to save the egg from breaking from a high drop. They build and design a structure that will prevent the egg from cracking. They are given 15-20 min to find a way.
Materials Required: Raw eggs (one for each group plus extras in case of accidents), cardboard, duck tape, several thin straws (at least 40 per group), paper towels for cleanup, a way to enable a high drop.
- Theme Theatre/Hot Seat
Divide the class into groups of 3. Students will take turns being the interviewer and interviewee. The teacher gives them a theme and the person being interviewed has to be creative in coming up with answers that the interviewers ask them about the subject; the sky is the limit. Each group then picks one best question and one best answer to share with the class. This game can be adapted to be played by any group of students.
- You have developed a new transit system to deal with the traffic congestion in Toronto – one that goes through the sewer.
- You have discovered that elephants are able to fly. You are the project manager who is testing this theory out by allowing the elephants to bungee jump from an airplane.
- You won a million dollars and you have to give 10% to others. Who would you choose?
- Life Highlights Game
This is an excellent icebreaker game that’s perfect for small and large class alike. Begin the game by asking each student to close their eyes for one minute and consider the best moments of their lives. After the students have had a moment to run through highlights of their lives, inform them that their search for highlights has just been narrowed. Keeping their eyes closed, ask them to take a moment to decide what 30 seconds of their life they would want to relive if they had 30 seconds to live. While the first part of the activity enables students to reflect back on their lives, the second part enables them to get to know their classmates on a persona level. The teacher facilitating this game will ask each student what their 30 seconds entailed and why they chose it, which will allow participants to get a feel for each other’s passions, loves, and personalities.
- Rubik’s Cube Shuffle:
Rubik’s cube is an age old game which is still popular among children of all ages. Each group will be given a twisted Rubik’s cube which the players will have to work on getting at least one of the six solid colors placed perfectly. This puzzle solving requires the idea of all the team players and demands critical thinking and strategic planning to get the colors put in the right spots.
Materials: Rubik Cube
- Colored Thinking Hats
The Six Thinking Hats metaphor was developed by Edward de Bon. It is a model that can be used to explore different perspectives towards a complex situation, encouraging creativity, change and listening skills. Seeing things in different ways is often a good idea in strategy formation or complex decision-making processes. In this game, delegates are presented with a hypothetical situation to consider whilst in turn wearing one of six different colored hats. Each hat represents a different way of thinking. This activity is recommended for all grades.
About Alex Noudelman
Alex Noudelman is an educator, coach and Digital Marketing Manager with over 5 years of experience. Alex enjoys and strives to motivate others to better themselves professionally and on a personal note. Feel free to contact him if you have any questions or would like a specific topic covered.