As a form of community in the classroom, we often begin the year with some type of ice breaker activity for the students to get to know one another. While some of these are tried and true, others can be (let’s face it) a bit cringeworthy, especially as our students get a little older. However, it is important to note that activities like these should take place over the span of the school year, not just on those first days of classes. So how does one strike a balance here? Never fear; here are 30 great ideas for team building classroom activities that span across subject areas and grade levels.
30 team building classroom activities
1. Anecdote Hunt: This activity gets students up and moving, into pairs or small groups, while listening for things like applause signs to know when it is the correct time to sit down. The best part of team building classroom activities like this one is that these anecdotes include things they are learning in class! Better yet, no preparation by the teacher is required.
2. Who Am I?: This one gets students drawing and asking questions of their partner to figure out who the character on their paper is based on a list of adjectives and other characteristics that describe them.
3. What’s my Animal?: Students must work together to guess what animal they are describing based on the physical characteristics they are given.
4. Around the World: Teams must get from one side of the room to the other by completing various tasks that require students to work together and communicate clearly. This game can also be played in a number of ways- teams can choose their own tasks, or the teacher can create a list of common items associated with a specific country or culture.
5. Footsteps: This game requires the students to listen carefully in order to follow their partner’s footsteps around the room. It works best when teams are just one pair, but it can also be played when there are larger groups and each team has multiple pairs working together to get through this list.
6. The Quadrilateral Game: The best part about this game is that it requires students to work in a small group to come up with action together but they can’t all talk at once! In order for the team building classroom activities list to make sense, one student from each team comes up and explains his or her suggestion. Once it is understood by the rest of the group, they must act it out without talking in order to get the whole team to guess correctly.
7. Desert Survival: This is another activity that requires students to move around the room while completing various tasks. Be sure you have enough materials for each person on a team or else this game could get to be quite a workout!
8. What I Love about my Country: Students must work together using their knowledge of the country they are discussing to fill in this Google forms-based activity. This is one of the best ways to acknowledge countries that aren’t regularly discussed in class and also provides students with an easy way to grasp some interesting facts about their classmates’ countries.
9. How much Do You Know?: This one works for any level of class and is a great way to get up and moving around the classroom while still learning something new. It’s also a good idea to have students do this activity in partners or small groups so that they can help each other out if they are confused.
10. Connect Four: Don’t judge! This is actually a great game to get students up and moving while requiring them to work together as much (or as little) as you choose for your activity. You can also play this with larger groups by making teams of 4 or 5 people and having each team take turns.
11. The Hundred Game: This game gets students up and moving in order to guess numbers, which requires them to work together as a team to solve the problems. They must listen carefully and communicate clearly in order for this activity to be successful!
12. Pizza Party!: In addition to being fun for kids, this one is a great way to teach fractions! Teams of students must work together to earn “dollar bills” in order to buy different ingredients for their pizza. Once they have enough money, they can purchase the necessary items from each team member and build their pizzas.
13. The Red Carpet: Students get up out of their seats and walk down the “red carpet” as they complete a list of tasks. It is important to have the class work together to come up with these because some of them are quite challenging!
14. Telephone: This one might be easier if you pass out index cards for each team, but it’s still a great way to get kids working together and listening carefully to one another. Each team must take turns answering a question, with the first person whispering their answer to the second person. This continues until all nine students have answered the question in order for it to be completed successfully!
15. The Maze: How well do students really know their classroom? Teams are given a list of items that are in the room and are tasked with finding their way to each one. If you make it a little more difficult, have teams find only specific objects or different students can lead groups.
16. Find It!: Teach teams of four how to properly use equipment like flashlights and compasses as they attempt to find items around the classroom and learn about the constellations!
17. Color Code: For students who are familiar with coding, this is an easy game to play where students must work together to solve a series of questions using code words and colors. Teams might find it easiest to first agree on what color represents a question about each letter. Once that’s done, they can start working on the questions!
18. Alphabet Soup: This is a fun activity for students who know their way around an alphabet, but it’s also great for those who don’t since it allows them to explore letters that they may not often see written out. Teams must take turns reading individual letters from the soup and decide which letter matches theirs. For example, if the letter d is in the soup, teams must decide which letter it matches.
19. Pie Chart Challenge: This game will get students moving around and working together to complete simple tasks like solving equations as they try to find their way around a pie chart.
20. Fraction Tower: Teams of four have to work together to build a tower out of twelve fraction pieces. This is another game that can be completed by some teams with little effort while being extremely challenging for others!
21. Rings: Teams earn points in this lesson plan by completing different tasks and taking turns rolling dice. It’s important to remind students not to talk while they’re rolling as it could disrupt the other team and cause them to lose points.
22. Teamwork Showdown: In this game, teams have to work together in order to make up riddles that feature words like “me” “we” and “our.” It also requires them to listen carefully when their opponents are coming up with answers to the riddles.
23. A Rainbow of Cooperation: This lesson is designed to teach students how cooperation can benefit groups in a lot of different ways while also helping them learn about the different types of rainbows!
24. Get Bizzy!: Students will need to work together when their team is called upon to solve math problems or come up with ways to identify circles, squares, and triangles.
25. Decimal Domination: This lesson plan focuses on decimal operations and students must work together in order to complete all of the questions correctly. This is another one that could be lightened up or made more difficult depending on which students are included in each team!
26. Name That Tune: This lesson plan assigns teams a different instrument to play and they must work together in order to complete the song.
27. The Fourteenth Number: In this game, students will have to figure out what number goes with each letter as well as reasoning their way through math problems!
28. Minute Math Maze Race: Getting from point A to point B can be an extremely fun and challenging task in this lesson plan where teams work together to solve math problems as they navigate their way through a maze.
29. What’s Your Number?: In this game, students will have to work together to answer questions about fractions, decimals, and percents while also counting their way through a maze!
30. End of the Line: In this game, students will use their knowledge of fractions and decimals to help them find their way through a number line as they try to make it all the way home.
Discovering Team Building Classroom Activities with the 4 Keys
Creating team building classroom activities that are engaging for your students isn’t difficult, it just needs to ebb and flow with the students and where they are (physically, mentally, and emotionally). Being flexible is the key to making all of this work. The key is engagement. There are four keys to student engagement that I discuss in my video training challenge that releases twice per year. It is called “Finding Your Student Engagement Formula” and it walks you through those four keys and how to implement them in the classroom.
If you are interested in registering (it’s totally free), visit the Finding Your Student Engagement Formula Challenge registration page and you will be notified the next time the series is available.