Using games to encourage teamwork in primary school children

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Encouraging teamwork in the classroom, particularly among primary school students, need not be difficult. Children are usually highly sociable at these young ages, and by utilizing games which encourage teamwork, students can learn to effectively work together, get results and have a lot of fun! Additionally, according to the Electronic Journal of Science Education, cooperative learning among students has been demonstrated to benefit students’ education considerably.

Teamwork basics

Teamwork is an important skill to develop for use in both school years and later in life per the NDT Resource Center. If desired, a whole week’s worth of teaching could revolve around the theme of teamwork with teams having to work together at the start of the week to give themselves a team name, a motto and build/draw a mascot of their choice. Throughout the week, quizzes, projects, challenges and games such as the ones described below could be spread throughout the lessons, in a range of subjects and points could be given to each team as they progress through the games. At the end of the week, add up the different teams’ points and declare 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams. Give out prizes if your budget will allow!

Teamwork art project

An effective way to encourage teamwork is to give the students a group art project per an educational initiative by Artzero Children’s Art. To illustrate a group art project, after dividing the class into smaller groups (the numbers will depend upon the teacher’s class size), the teacher can give the class a brief: children must recreate an image or a series of images from a picture that the teacher has a copy of, but only one student in each little group is allowed to see the teacher’s original picture. The one student has to describe what he/she needs the group to draw in order to complete the picture. They themselves are not allowed to help with the drawing, they are only allowed to describe what they saw, and the group has to work together to recreate the picture using only their teammate’s descriptions. At the end of the game, the team with the closest match to the teacher’s image wins the challenge, although points could be awarded for the most creative image, most colorful image, etc., in order to make all teams feel positive at the end of the game. 

Team quizzes

One of the most adaptable and easy-to-create games is the group quiz. Moreover, according to Quiz Club Ltd., quiz championships build confidence and strategic thinking among students.This can be adapted to a whole range of subjects, from English, right through to History, Geography and Math. The questions might change but the game as a whole remains the same. Split children into teams and either using a projector screen or a whiteboard, write quiz questions for the children to answer on the subject of the teacher’s choice. The children will have to work together as a team in order to solve the questions. Depending on the group, the teacher can either let children choose their own team-mates or allocate children to groups randomly. This will also encourage children to work with others who might not be in their very close range of classroom friends. 

Problem solving games

Useful particularly in science and math lessons per the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, problem solving games are a great way to get children to work together to think through challenges. Whether children are asked in teams to build a model boat that can float using a range of materials of different properties, or asked to arrange a set of math problem numbers and symbols (e.g., +, -, x, /, =), into correct equations, the only limit to how teachers can integrate team problem solving games into their lessons is their imagination. 

With a little planning, it’s easy to create games which encourage teamwork in primary classrooms. Children learn very effectively through team exercises, and as well as being educational and encouraging healthy relationships between students, team games are also great fun and create a positive classroom environment.