“Team building with students improves productivity, boosts motivation, increases collaboration, encourages creativity, and enriches communication.”
The game PASS IT ON! is a great way to reinforce cooperation among students. Those confined to small spaces such as classrooms will benefit from this game since it takes up limited space and students work in a confined area. Another added bonus is that you can use a multitude of equipment. I’ve used balls, cones, cylinders, scarves, shoes, bowling pins and anything with varying shapes, sizes, and textures.
Here’s how I play PASS IT ON!
I like to play in groups of 8-10
Students sit in a circle. This is actually part on of the challenge. “Work together to sit in a circle with your legs and feet inside.” Sometimes this simple instruction can be a beneficial way to introduce teamwork and cooperation.
Introduce the piece of equipment.
Pass the equipment around the circle using your hands. This gets them warmed up and familiarizes them with the “feel” of the chosen equipment.
Ask about the physical properties of the object. “What does is feel like? Is it slippery?”
Inform students that you will be passing the equipment around the circle using only your legs and feet.
Students discuss strategy for 1-2 minutes. I enjoy listening to the discussion. This is also a time to seek positive and negative communication.
Inform students that the challenge is NOT A RACE. On some occasions students are caught up on what a neighboring group is doing. I remind students to focus on their own group.
Students pass the object around the circle using only their legs and feet (3-4 minutes). During this round the equipment is allowed to touch the ground. If the object makes it’s way around the circle, students continue to pass it until they hear the cue to stop.
Process with the class. I like to ask, “What worked or didn’t work? What made is challenging? How was the communication? etc.”
Pass the object around the circle again without allowing it to touch the ground. If the object hits the ground, it goes back to the first person who then sends it in the opposite direction.
Process with the class.
Introduce a second piece of equipment. I like to add something that has a different shape, size and texture. I ask the group whether they feel the new equipment will be easier to pass of more difficult and WHY?
Pass the new piece around the circle. Be sure to choose a new person to begin.
Process with the class. Along with the questions from the second round I ask them if their hypothesis about the new equipment was accurate. Was it more challenging? Why?
Add both pieces of equipment to the circle. I add each piece to opposite sides of the circle and inform students to pass them around in the same direction.
Each group tries to be the first to pass a single piece of equipment around the circle without letting it hit the ground. This is a great opportunity to discuss and observe good sportsmanship.
Simple, easy, and fun! PASS IT ON! has been one of my “go-to” activities for years. It a wonderful way to reinforce team building concepts with students of all ages. Be sure to allow the essential time to process and debrief. Without debriefing, team building loses is effectiveness. Students need processing time to share what worked well and what did not, granting them stock in the methodology.
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