Each social and emotional skill in Zoo U is represented by an animal. We chose lions to represent Cooperation because of the way lions work together to hunt large prey. Each lion has a special job during the hunt that they train for from the time they’re cubs; and, the hunt is most successful when each lion can perform her special job that matches her skills.
In this teamwork activity, students are told that they are making a movie, and they need to assign the roles of actor, director, camera operator and film critic to four different lions. The worksheet has pictures of each lion and lists their unique skills, and students must choose which lion’s skills best fit each role.
I don’t know if you all watch the TV show Top Chef, but I’m a big fan. They have a challenge called Restaurant Wars in which two teams of four have to open a restaurant in 24 hours. On that four-person team, they need to decide who will be the executive chef, the sous chef, front-of-the-house, and a general line cook.
Inevitably, a couple people fight over being executive chef because they’re convinced they would be the best leader. And most of the time, no one wants to be front-of-the-house because a lot of the chefs don’t have that skill set.
The teams who choose the wrong people for the wrong roles always lose. They fight in the kitchen, the food suffers, and diners at the restaurant are dissatisfied.
It makes for compelling TV, of course! And it’s also an interesting look at how successful (or unsuccessful) a team can be based on how its members’ skills are matched with their roles.
This activity is a great opportunity to discuss with students the idea that we all have special skills or character traits to offer to the group, and we’re all most successful when we use our strongest skills to help our team.