Cooperative Learning Activities for Students in Elementary School

Cooperative learning activities are a fantastic way to improve overall social and emotional learning and development, but, many students struggle with speaking up and asking for helpOften, when presented with a situation or question that they’re not sure how to handle, they get quiet and shy instead of answering.

In these Decode a Joke worksheets, your students will work with a partner to decode the punchline to several animal-themed jokes by working to decode a joke for Cooper the Lion, an animal character from Zoo U. In the lesson, students will be presented with part of the joke, and in order to find the answer, they need to ask for help from someone holding the key.

Directions for these cooperative learning activities:

  1. Split students into pairs.
  2. Give one student in each pair the code, and give the other the key.
  3. The student with the code is the scribe. He will start by asking what the first symbol means, and the key holder will check the key and tell him the letter that corresponds to that symbol. The scribe will fill in that letter in the box above the symbol.
  4. Students continue to work this way until they have decoded the joke.
  5. If you would like them to switch roles, give them another coded message.

We encourage you or another adult to be in charge of the key, but for older students, this can work as a peer activity. In either case, students learn to ask for help decoding each letter until they uncover the silly answer.

By completing the lesson, students will build confidence and be more likely to ask for help when needed.


Answer Key for Decoded Jokes for Older Students:

  • What is a crocodile’s favorite drink? Gator-ade.
  • Which side of a cheetah has the most spots?   The outside.
  • What snakes are found on cars?  Windshield vipers.
  • Who was the gorilla’s favorite American President? Ape-raham Lincoln.
  • What time is it when an elephant sits on the sofa?  Time to get a new sofa.
  • What kind of math do birds like?  Owlgebra.
  • What do you call a bee that can’t make up his mind?  A maybee.
  • What kind of bears like to go out in the rain?  Drizzly bears.

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