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Team Building Activities for Middle Schoolers

by Debbie McCarson

Team building activities are a fun way to strengthen middle school relationships. They are good icebreakers and build strong bonds as students work together to solve problems. Team building activities create trust and ease conflict between students. They develop communication skills and help students recognize each other’s strengths. Lessons learned during these activities can be applied to real-life situations.

Model Building

Divide students into teams of three. Give each team two boxes of identical building materials. This could be anything such as Legos, blocks, even toothpicks and marshmallows or a combination of all of these. Set teams up at tables as far away from each other as possible. Ask each team to work together to build a structure from the supplies in one of the boxes and place it back into the box so the other teams cannot see it. When all structures are complete and in boxes, have teams switch boxes. Give each of the team members positions as “explainer,” “messenger” and “builder.” Only the explainer can see the structure. He must describe the structure to the messenger, who in turn relays to the builder instructions on how to build it. The builder must create an exact replica with only the instructions relayed through the messenger.

Beach Ball Balance

Divide students into two teams and line them up facing each other about 25 feet apart. Have them number off so that each player represents a number. Place six 20-inch beach balls on the ground halfway between the two teams. Call out two numbers. The team members from both teams who have been assigned those numbers run to the beach balls and try to hold three of them off the ground for five seconds. As soon as one team is successful, yell out “drop” and give that team a point. The players drop the balls and run back to their line as you call out two more members. Keep the game moving quickly.

Inner Circle Outer Circle

Have students stand in a circle. Tell every other student to step back one step so there is an inner circle and an outer circle. The students in the inner circle should turn around and face the students in the outer circle. Adjust the circles so that students stand face-to-face. The teacher then asks a question, such as, “What is one of your favorite movies and why?” The students standing face to face should share their answers with each other. Give a few minutes for this exchange, and then instruct one or both of the circles to rotate. For instance, say, “Inner circle move two spaces to the left.” Ask another question and have students share that information with each other. Continue in this manner until a series of 10 questions is shared.

Blind Synergy

Have students line up next to each other, shoulder to shoulder. Then blindfold them all, and tell them they must rearrange themselves from tallest to shortest. You can use variations on this, such as lining up in order of birthdays, shoe size or alphabetical order. Another game to play while students are blindfolded is Pattern Dash. Divide students into teams of four. Give each team a number of shapes cut from poster board, such as a star, circle, square, rectangle and octagon. Have the team members sit side by side at long tables. Call out a pattern, such as square-circle-star-octagon-triangle. Teams must race to lay out the pattern within a certain time limit.

About the Author

Debbie McCarson is a former English teacher and school business administrator. Her articles have appeared in "School Librarians’ Journal" and "The Encyclopedia of New Jersey." A South Jersey native, she is a regular contributor to "South Jersey MOM" magazine.

Photo Credits

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