Doing this effectively is going to be really easy, because we have done all the work for you! The "Spiral Studies" team is a group of 4 teachers from different subject areas working together to integrate curriculum seamlessly (Read more about the team below).
We think that one of the most important tips is to keep a focus on why you are incorporating a team building day or lesson into your curriculum. The goals listed here are what we feel are most important in each individual subject during a team building lesson.
The goal of any community-building activity in the middle grades should be more than just getting to know one another. In fact, it should even go beyond trusting and respecting one another. Trust and teamwork is obviously important, but there is so much more that you can do with this type of activity.
Make your team-building exercise a learning experience that sets expectations for all cooperative learning for the rest of the year!
Our team decided to target an essential question across the 4 major subject areas:
"What does a team player look like in______ class?"
We incorporated the most important skills that we want kids to have within each specific classroom. Collaboration in math class has a different look than collaboration in English class, and we wanted our team building day to reflect that.
As a math teacher, I want my students to know how to describe and discuss a problem solving approach. I want them to be able to reach out to another group when they get stuck. I want them to be able to explain their own strategies and try to understand a classmate's strategy. I want them to keep going when a problem seems impossible. I don't want them to give up when they get stuck.
A Science teacher wants different results. In a lab, it is important for each team member to know their own lab role. We broke it all down and came up with the following "WHY" goals for the reason behind a solid team building day in each class:
It is amazing to be able to meet all these goals in just one class period for each subject area! Here are some key tips for how we make it happen:
Here's the Best Part!
We created the full lessons for each subject area, including student printables and lesson plans. Each has one version of the bookmark, which requires students with different versions to work together to fill in the blanks! The entire integrated project has been built for your teaching team to try!
And it's all completely FREE! Click the images to download all four lessons.
Meet the Team
Click the links to visit the blogs and learn more about the "Spiral Studies" team:
We hope that your students love these lessons, and that they help you teach the guidelines for collaboration that will work well in your classroom.
This set of activities is great for the first day of school, and also works really well on those weird last days before a break. You can really insert this in anywhere you want throughout the school year.
Please let us know what you think!
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I also find that sometimes students (or math clubs) are interested in this type of thing just for fun!
There are just so many uses for a good article that feels relevant to teens. Just have them read and summarize for a quick no-prep assignment.
Choose a few that are appropriate for your students - I've included a few notes about what level each article is, so you do not have to browse through every one.
The Math Equations that Determine the Fate of Refugees
Gaussian Curves - Applications in Pizza, Corrugated Metal, Grass, Eggs, & More
Winning Strategy for "Rock, Paper, Scissors" (video)
Why Roller Coaster Loops are not Perfect Circles
Why You Are Not "Bad at Math"
The Math Principles Behind Juggling
The Story of Yitang Zhang & His Work on an "Unsolvable" Math Problem
Why Are Raindrops Mathematically Impossible? (video)
We are Born with Math & Number Instincts
The Math Behind Computer Color Glitches (video)
Card Shuffling Strategies
Pascal's Triangle - The Beauty & Secrets of Mathematics (video)
A Playable Polygon "Parable"
I hope your students enjoy these! I have so much fun collecting links like this, and am always looking for more. Feel free to share additional articles that you have found in the comments, so we can keep our collection growing!
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Hi... Just a quick post today because I know some of you have been waiting for it. I have put together the much-requested video to show how to play Conquest.
This should make it easier for your class to get set up and started, just show the video and then they can play!
If you did not already download your free Conquest game, enter your email in the sidebar to get the file. Have fun!
To continue as an ongoing game, get more card sets here.
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