This year, I want to focus on developing the 4 C's in my students: Critical Thinking (Problem-Solving), Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity. Today's group activity correlated with all 4 C's and the students had a lot of fun!
Originally called "Save Fred," this activity, which I renamed "Save Dave" just because I like the rhyming, came from Mrs. White's 5th grade blog: http://mesmrswhitesclass.blogspot.com/. She told me I could borrow the idea. ;)
Basically, you divide the students into groups (I did pairs), give them 4 paperclips, a cup [turned over on the table], a gummy Lifesaver under the cup, and a gummy worm on top of the cup, and then tell them the following story about Dave, the gummy worm:
"Poor Dave! He was sailing along on a boat (the cup) when a strong wind blew it upside-down! Dave ended up on top of the capsized boat. Unfortunately for Dave, his life preserver (Lifesaver gummy) is still trapped under the boat. Your job is to place the life preserver firmly around Dave's body, but you must obey three rules--you may not touch anything with your fingers/hands (you may only use the paperclips); you may not injure Dave in any way (i.e. poke a paperclip through his body!); and Dave may not fall into the sea (onto the table) more than three times. If he does, Dave drowns."
Before I shared the story, we discussed the fact that we all solve problems every day. Some problems are big; some are small. We talked about ways we solve problems and gave examples of problems we've encountered before. I created a flipchart for this activity and had music playing when I shared Dave's story--wind was howling, etc. and the kids were so engaged!CLICK HERE to access the flowchart/data sheet I made for this activity. (For whatever reason, the formatting is a little off from my original document and this copy isn't showing my flowchart. Boo. Sorry about that; you can still copy/paste the words.)