Cooperative Building
  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.

Young people will take turns, show respect for the work of others, and cooperatively build a project.

PrintOne 30 Minute Session
  • increase listening comprehension and use critical thinking skills
  • share power and show respect for the work of others

Building blocks of wood or plastic composition

  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Look at pictures of different buildings or go outside and look construction materials, shapes, and function of buildings. Talk about what workers are needed to build a building (plumbers, carpenters, brick-layers, electricians, etc.) and how they take turns sharing their expertise. You may look together at a picture book about construction.

  2. Tell them they are going to make a building together with blocks, taking turns and respecting the ideas of others. Before starting, discuss the group agreements that say sometimes we step up and share our ideas and sometimes we step back and listen to others. Introduce the idea of paying attention to the power dynamics in the room. Sometimes people with big ideas take up more space, and sometimes people who are quiet don't speak up. Talk about some things anyone can do to make sure each person's voice matters in a group with different talents and opinions.

  3. Put the building materials in the center and the builders in a circle around them. While building a structure, the group practices stepping forward and stepping back, and speaking up for others to honor each voice. 

    Give this guidance: Discuss what to build, take turns to build a structure together, and give support to make sure each person participates. Then we'll talk about how it went.

    With a larger group, have half the group build while the other half observes from a larger outer circle. Then have them all reflect on how it went. Switch roles so the young people who were building are now the observers, and the outside circle sits around the blocks with the same guidance.

  4. It can be helpful to reflect on this idea: "Success isn't whose idea we use but how we worked together - no winners or losers." 


In assessing the activity, give feedback that the following was accomplished: they took turns, showed respect for the work of others, stood up for quiet children, used kind words to ask people with power to share, and completed a structure using the blocks provided.