Tower of Power
10 minutes or more
Build teamwork, communication, and brainstorming skills.
Before You Start
- Let students know their goal for the day will be to work with their group to build the tallest freestanding tower possible. They are not allowed to lean it against anything or attach it to anything permanent in the room/on the playground.
- Tell students there will be two minutes for planning and then two rounds of building. In between rounds you’ll have a chance to debrief together and share ideas with other groups.
Prepare a supply kit for each group of students that will be building a tower (5-6 students in each group). Make sure each group has an equal number of supplies.
Equipment needed to play the game:
- Paper plates
How to Play
- First, groups will have 2 minutes to brainstorm how they will build the tower. During this time the supplies will be in front of them but they are not allowed to touch them – only talk and plan.
- When time begins, the group will have 10 minutes to build the tallest tower possible. Give students a 5 minute, 2 minute and 1 minute warning. When time is up, nobody is allowed to touch the tower.
- While debriefing, have someone go around and measure the towers, keeping track of how tall each one is.
- Debrief: What went well for your group in that round? What could you have done better? Is there anything you see that another group did that you’re going to try? Do you have any questions for them?
- Share the height of each tower and the total tower height in the room.
- Have the group set a goal for the total height they want to reach for the next round.
- Give 6-10 more minutes for building, giving the same time warnings.
- Measure each tower’s height and discuss what went better in the second round and what they learned about themselves or their teammates by doing this activity.
This activity can be used to work on a variety of skills by debriefing differently:
- Teamwork and Communication
- Innovation: How did sharing ideas in the middle help? Did your team ever get stuck on one idea that wasn’t working?
- Goal-setting: Put a big emphasis on having each team set a goal and the whole group set a goal. Make sure it’s a realistic goal and they’re keeping it in mind throughout the round.
- Self-advocacy/Public speaking: Have each group present their tower to the larger group – sharing what its strengths are and why theirs is the best tower (whether it’s the tallest or not)