Soon, fifth grade will begin Project Based Learning. They will have to decide on a project (usually community service based, like with the animal shelter or local library), divvy up the tasks, and accomplish it.

To prepare them for this daunting task, I have two team building and communication lessons to do. For the first, we brainstormed the difference between a group and a team. You can see what they came up with below.

Next, we practiced being an effective team. The activity was Zoom, where I give them each an image. The image may not be shown to anyone else. Using only words and showing no one your image, you must figure out what order the images go in. In the picture below, the students are unveiling the images in the order they hypothesized.

The result of this activity is that the images “zoom” out from each other. In the sequence, the following picture is a zoomed out image of the one before, resulting in a big picture and finally they world as a dot in space. The kids loved the concept– one young man made his own version in art class.

We were able to connect the activity to real life. Sometimes, you might have only one detail of a larger picture and you must communicate in order to accomplish the big picture. We decided that this was true in ship-building, hospitals, and probably in project based learning.