Our team does some form of team building exercise every meeting for the first several months that new students join the team or any time we need to work on communication within the team. We also often do a quick team building activity if we do any cross-team activities with other FRC teams to help the students and mentors get to know each other and break the initial awkward “get to know you” barrier. Sometimes, we just do it for fun. We find the more we work together with different combinations of people and different brainstorming, building, creating projects, the easier it is when the stress of build season hits.
Each team building activity is chosen for a specific purpose: getting to know names, getting to know each other’s communication styles, working through brainstorming, looking at the design process, or incorporating some tool, mechanical, electrical or other training topic where working in small groups on a short term project would introduce an important new concept.
Mixed teams are great – people from different subgroups, different FRC teams, different friend/sibling groups, different ages, different FRC experience. We almost always have a mentor team that the students try to beat.
The goal of the activity is typically two-fold:
- Accomplish the task
- Make sure everyone on your team gets their voices heard and are participating comfortably
The following is a team building project we often do with new groups of all ages and talk about the challenges of communication. We also used this one at SCRIW in October when our team did a workshop on team building (link below):
Supplies: per table (3 to 5 people)
5 pieces of paper
1 pair of scissors
Make sure each person at each table has a name tag or knows each other’s name.
- Make the longest chain in 4 minutes
- Make sure everyone in the team has a chance to talk/input ideas and their suggestions are heard
2 minutes to talk about how to do it
It’s fun and people can get pretty creative.
Here’s the link to the SCRIW presentation – slide show, favorite team building activity resources and a few photos: