Social Studies Activity

This activity will give students the opportunity to consider what is involved in cooperative efforts and why real teamwork can be very effective. As a result, they may be able to offer suggestions for improving cooperation in their own classroom.



  1. With the class, develop a definition for the term "teamwork." The definition should include the kinds of behavior and attitudes that go into effective teamwork. Write the definition at the top of the large paper or poster board.

  2. Divide students into small groups and have each one come up with a list of community activities that would involve teamwork. To get students going, suggest that they think of different places they have been in the last week where they might have observed teamwork in action. Some examples might be at school, home, the dentist's office, the supermarket, and soccer practice. Ask what activities in all these places suggested that good teamwork was (or perhaps wasn't) happening.

  3. Bring the class back together and ask volunteers to suggest examples and descriptions of the teamwork they observed. Enter these observations under the class definition of teamwork. They might include such examples as the team effort required to put together and distribute a school lunch; the way work is divided among cashiers, shelf stockers, baggers, and others in a supermarket; the way the soccer coach and a team of players at different positions fought their way to victory.

  4. Circle key words and phrases that appear frequently or ask students to suggest descriptive words based on their observations. Examples might include concepts of cooperation, working together, planning, listening, and practicing together.

  5. Ask students if they would like add any of these ideas to their definition of teamwork and then amend the definition accordingly.

  6. Have students think about the groups they just worked in. Were the qualities mentioned in their definition evident in the way their groups worked together? How might they change things the next time they work together?

  7. Using students' responses along with the definition they generated, develop a list of guidelines for effective teamwork in the classroom. Post these where everyone can see them and review them occasionally.


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