Sixth Grade Tackles Teamwork and Collaboration

The entire sixth grade explored teamwork and collaboration during Spirit Week, bonding as a class and creating memories. The goals of the day were to have fun and to participate in activities where students learned and practiced teamwork and collaboration skills.

They began on Tuesday, taking time during advisory to prepare for the following day. They watched a series of video clips showing soccer and softball players, race car drivers, and a Navy SEAL. They also watched a brief video that explained collaboration. Then they spent time in personal reflection before establishing their goals for the next day in a group discussion. The sixth-grade teaching team used four questions to drive reflection and discussion:

  • Based on the movie clips, how would you describe what a good teammate is?  What characteristics are needed to make a good team?
  • What do you think is your biggest strength in helping a team?  How are you a good teammate?
  • What do you think is your biggest challenge or struggle in being on a team?
  • The activities throughout the day will focus on teamwork and collaboration. Create one goal for yourself that you hope to work on throughout the day. It could be as simple as: “I want to listen more in group discussions or talk. I am usually a talker and I think at times it is better for me to listen.” Or, it could be something like: “I need to do a better job of compromising. Too often I think my ideas are the best and I do not listen to others.”  Explain this goal.

Students were ready for a day of fun and activities designed to drive teamwork and collaboration. The grade was split in half, with the groups starting in one area in the morning and switching places after lunch. Each group participated in the same activities.

Toxic Island

The mission for sixth graders was easy: safely deliver a raw egg through treacherous terrain to an island without cracking it. They were told, “An island nation has been quarantined by the Wizarding World Health Organization due to an outbreak of a nasty virus. You are tasked with delivering the golden egg containing the potion to save Outbreak Island’s sick inhabitants.”

Of course, the students learned quickly that this wouldn’t be an easy problem to solve. There were materials, time, and rule constraints:

  • You cannot touch the water or even cross the blue threshold. You cannot touch the island, either (that includes resting your contraption on it).
  • The people of the island need their supplies delivered safely and quickly. Drop the golden egg safely onto the island without breaking it.
  • You must be able to see and easily access the egg from the island once it lands inside the bucket. (Teachers checked all sides of the eggs for cracks.)
  • Each team had two attempts and one minute for the final test.
  • They were given only these materials to use:
    • 2 meters of masking tape
    • 1 meter of duct tape
    • enough rope to cover tarp
    • no bubble wrap or foam

Students spent some time individually contemplating possible solutions, researching the problem, and considering available materials, what they’ve seen used as successful packaging, and what inventions might help them complete their mission well. They created an initial contraption and then learned their team assignments. The teams then had to consider each idea, working together to determine options and final designs before beginning their build. Once completed, it was time to test their prototypes. They used plastic eggs as their precious cargo, just in case their initial designs weren’t quite up to snuff. Teams were allowed to go back and tweak their designs, continuing to revise and improve based on how their test runs went.

Scavenger Hunt

Using our incredible campus, sixth-grade students participate in a fun scavenger hunt that took them all over. After meeting on our field hockey pitch, teams took off for a variety of challenges. Can you guess where they had to go based on these clues (answers are at the end of the article!)?

  1. The ‘biggest games’ happen here this weekend
  2. You go here for built-in seating to watch the field hockey rams win
  3. Boat races and the senior swim happen here
  4. Serena and Venus crush it here
  5. People play ‘pig’ here
  6. The statue no one knows about behind the bookstore is here
  7. Pele and Megan Rapinoe play here
  8. This is on the outside where we pump iron

Each stop involved a challenge that the teams had to complete in four minutes, before getting three minutes to make it to their next location. The challenges included LEGO construction, solving math problems and riddles, unscrambling letters to make words, solving a puzzle, answering trivia questions about St. Louis, and making blind drawings of a house, dog walker, and bobsledding team.

After an hour of frenzied activity, the groups reconvened for a vibrant group discussion, sharing their experiences and talking about what they found challenging, where they found success, and what tips and strategies they might share with others.


At the conclusion of the activities, the sixth graders once again took time to reflect, prompted by these questions:

  • What did you enjoy most about the day?
  • What did you learn about teamwork and collaboration?
  • What activities really challenged you and/or your team? Why were they challenging?
  • Reflect on the goal you set for yourself this morning. How did you do? What successes did you experience? What challenges did you face with the goal?

What a phenomenal day of fun and team building for our sixth grade! Laughter and collaboration means a lifetime of memories.

Answers to the scavenger hunt locations:

  1. Ron Holtman Stadium
  2. Field hockey pitch bleachers
  3. Polk Pond
  4. Tennis courts
  5. Basketball hoop outside the MAC
  6. “The Foundation” sculpture behind Olson Hall
  7. Soccer field
  8. Workout room/Schoenberg doors