Team building

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Lesson Summary:

The goal of this SOP Core Lesson is to build understanding of the benefits of collaboration and how it affects learning and community. 


Students will be able to:

  • Identify different roles they and others can fill to help the group accomplish goals. 
  • Practice effective communication, planning, problem solving and decision making with others. 
  • Transfer their understandings of teamwork to other parts of their life (school, home, etc.)


Team building is an integral part of the SOP experience, since each field group needs to work well together in order for everyone to stay safe, learn and have fun during their Islandwood experience. Throughout the week, students will have the opportunity to fill different roles while helping their team achieve its goals, illustrating the value of diversity in a team. This can also be used as an analogy to extend to the importance of diversity in an ecosystem. Teamwork skills are also highly transferable- they can be used for the rest of a student's life. To that end, each day at Islandwood should include some practice in the realm of team challenges and team building. 

Connection to The Process:

3.) Relating human relationships and influences within ecosystems. 

Possible Activities:

Team Building Overall

Each field group needs to work well together for everyone to learn and enjoy the most during their SOP experience. This means that in one team there are different roles that each student can fill that will help the group to accomplish all their goals for the week. These roles may change during the week, illustrating the value of diversity as a team strength. The skills that are required for teamwork are also ones that are very transferrable--they can be used for the rest of a student's life. To that end, each day at IslandWood includes some team building practice.

Teams Course

The teams course provides a context where a group may learn about individual strengths and collective potential of their group. Not every group should go to the teams course, but if they do it is to allow them to truly challenge themselves as a group to learn and practice skills in communication, planning, problem solving and decision making. The elements on the teams course are designed to be safe but challenging ways for the group to grow closer and for students to learn and practice the above teamwork skills.

Ground Elements

Ground elements, like the teams course, can also provide a group with the opportunity to practice and learn teamwork skills. Unlike the teams course, these challenges are more portable and more adjustable to better allow groups to have the structure for success during their task. Ground elements also have the advantage of being less time intensive as compared with teams course elements, and are very useful as a gauge for a team's readiness for the greater crucible of the teams course.

Bundle of Sticks

This story can be told just before you start your team's course or earlier in the day/ week in anticipation of the teams course.

Suggested Assessment:

Debrief experience through discussions.

Here are a number of suggested debrief strategies.

Also see The Debrief: An Overview

Use Community Agreement as comparison to see if students' understanding of teamwork has expanded.