Hug O' War

K, 1, 2

Students will demonstrate that a group effort will solve certain problems better than an individual effort.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Thirty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • increase listening comprehension and use critical thinking skills.
  • brainstorm ways to solve a problem.
  • implement students' solutions to a problem.
  • utilize cooperation to solve a problem.
  • name situations where a group effort is a better solution than an individual effort.
  • A strong rope
  • A large crate or another heavy object
  • Hug O' War (Attachment One)

Silverstein, Shel. Where the Sidewalk Ends. New York: Harpercollins Juvenile Books, 1974. ISBN: 060256672


  1. Anticipatory Set:


    • Stand in front of a very heavy object, such as your desk or a heavy crate, and ask the students for suggestions on how to move it. Show them that you cannot move it alone. Listen to and acknowledge all suggestions. Ask the students what cooperation is. Ask them how cooperation might help you move the object. Ask students to give examples of cooperation.
  2. Read Shel Silverstein's poem "Hug O' War" (Attachment One). Discuss the idea of a game in which everyone wins. Discuss the difference between competition and cooperation. Ask the students why they think the author will not play tug o' war.

    • Show the children the crate or heavy object that you wish to move. Brainstorm and record the different ways that the children suggest for moving the crate.
    • Have the children try some of the safe noncooperative ways that they have suggested.
    • One cooperative method that works is to tie a rope around the crate and have all of the students pull together. Discuss why they were able to move the crate when everyone was helping and not in other attempts.
    • Brainstorm and discuss the possible benefits of working together to solve problems over trying to solve them alone.

Have students draw a picture that illustrates people using cooperation to solve a problem within a community, school, or home. The teacher can write dictated descriptions on the pictures. Assess whether illustrations and text demonstrate an understanding of the concept of cooperation.


Philanthropy Framework

  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.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.