Team-building activities strengthen groups of people while working to accomplish a collective goal. Incorporating mathematical skills into your next team-building activity will allow students to solve subject specific problems within a group setting and strengthen analytical abilities as well as cooperative characteristics. Use unique materials in unfamiliar ways to challenge the groups when incorporating team-building activities into mathematical group work.
Practice mathematical operations or algebraic equations in a relay-race type team-building activity. Arrange groups of students into lines of four or five per team. Give each student one problem to solve on the chalkboard, ensuring that each step is shown. When you deem the answer correct, the student must run to the back of the line, allowing the person in the first position to solve his problem on the board. The first team to correctly solve its problems is the team-building activity winner.
Build a Tower
Give each group of students a bag of materials that may include items such as strands of uncooked spaghetti, marshmallows, sugar cubes, 1 yard of masking tape, pipe cleaners, a few rubber bands, marshmallows and wooden crafts sticks. Instruct each team to build a structural tower using every piece of material in the bag. The groups must construct the tower using both 45- and 90-degree angles to incorporate the mathematical element. Test the structure in various conditions, such as high wind from an indoor fan and a small paper weight hung from the top. Award a ribbon for the team with the most unique, durable and attractive tower.
On an open, outdoor pavement area, draw a 5-by-5 grid with sidewalk chalk. Each team will be responsible for completing the graph by solving math operations. Using the column number and the row number, one person on the team will either add, subtract, multiply or divide the two numbers mentally and place the answer in the corresponding grid square. The students may not converse or make any noise during the activity. If a student suspects an incorrect answer, he may make the correction during his turn. The team that correctly completes the grid in the shortest amount of time is the winner.
Give each student a piece of plumbing pipe or a previously folded strip of heavy paper, such as cardboard or card stock, and one marble per team. The students must devise a method of moving the marble from a starting point to an open container that will catch the marble. Students may be asked to move the marble through the pipe or on the cardboard gutter from various heights or around obstacles, either indoors or outside. The teams will discuss a plan for various angles and positions to hold the pipes or gutters to allow for the fastest marble travel from point A to point B.