Teach students how to cooperate

This Cooperation Skills activity is a good way to teach students how to work together to solve a problem.

Students, working in pairs, will be given two halves of the same drawing. They will need to use good communication and cooperation skills to describe their part of the drawing to their partner. In the end, each partner should end up with the same drawing.

Students will discuss what it’s like working with a partner who they can’t trust to do the work vs. what it’s like to work with a partner they enjoy working with and can trust completely to do the work.

The concept of this activity is similar to the board game battleship. You set up your ships on your board, and your opponent sets up his, but partitions block you from seeing each other’s. While the goal of the game is to sink each other’s ships, it still requires communication skills as well as trust in your partner. If you don’t trust that your partner is playing in good faith, you can’t trust that he is telling the truth about the location of his ships. And if you don’t have good communication skills, neither of you will progress very far in the game.

The same goes for this activity. You need to trust your partner that he can communicate accurate and clear instructions to you on how to complete your part of the drawing, and you need to work hard to do the same for your partner.

It can be hard to teach students how to cooperate because it seems like such an abstract skill. But this activity can help students build their cooperation skills and the necessary communication skills needed to support them.

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Cooperation Skills Extension Activity

In this activity, students will work together to create a collaborative artwork, counting on their classmates to do their best work.

Type-A students will learn to release control over the final product and see that it can still be successful in the end, and students with low-self esteem will see their own work not only contribute to but also enhance a successful product.

This activity works best with 4+ students, and can be used with an entire class to create a large piece of art to be displayed!

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