Colonial Elementary School students learned how to collectively solve problems, resolve conflicts, and build a sense of community through friendly outdoor competitions that were part of the school’s annual Team Building program.

Team Building was held for all students on Sept. 21 and 23, and offered opportunities for fourth- and fifth-graders to work together to overcome challenges. One of the problem-solving activities was a game called “Scratch and Draw,” which required students to sit in a line facing the same direction. The student at the back of the line was shown a shape to trace on the back of the person seated in front of them. That person then had to interpret what they felt and “draw” it on the back of the person in front of them. The student at the front of the line then drew the final shape on a whiteboard. Students found that sometimes the shape matched up with the original, and sometimes it did not - a valuable way for students to learn about effective communication.

Another activity was called “Who Let the Ducks Out.” Students had to “save” ducks who had become trapped in a pipe by plugging up holes in the pipe and adding water to the pipe as quickly as possible. Students had to agree upon who would do various jobs as they raced to save the ducks. 

The third activity was a game called “Puzzled,” where students had to look under buckets and collect puzzle pieces for their team’s puzzle. Once all the pieces were collected, the team then collaborated to put the pieces together. 

Interspersed with the activities were discussions on leadership, sportsmanship/teamwork, and frustrations and communication. Students were prompted to think about things like what makes a good leader, how they can persevere through challenges, how they can communicate effectively with one another, and how they can demonstrate good sportsmanship.