Team Building – Cup Stacking

There are definitely those days when we ALL need a break! Usually Fridays are that day for me and my students. So, this week we decided to try our hand at cup stacking.

Here students use their string to make a cup tower as large as possible.

Stacking cups is SO EASY! To prepare all you need are cups (I usually use the red Solo, but didn’t have any on this day), string, and rubberbands.

You will want to take a rubberband and tie 4 strings around it. The string needs to be about arm length. Tie those strengths in knots because the kids will use the string/rubberband concoction to pick up the cups. I had (4) kids work per group and so I made (5) of the rubberband/string concoctions.

The kids were quickly running me out of cups, but luckily a co-teacher had some Starbucks cups to save the day! This was a challenge because they were working with cups of two different sizes.

After you have your strings tied onto rubberbands and your cups, then you are ready to go over the rules. Here are my rules for this activity:

Rule #1 – EVERYBODY must listen to each other’s ideas. NOBODY is allowed to say that an idea is stupid. They must try EVERY idea mentioned.

Rule #2 – There is to be no screaming, shouting, yelling, cursing, etc. If you need a break, take a break, but rudeness is not allowed. (I saw one group partaking in the balloon to relieve stress – think Conscious Discipline.)

Rule #3 – This is a TEAM BUILDING activity. So, think of ways to encourage one another while getting along. You should be the problem solvers, not the teacher.

Rule #4 – Absolutely NO HANDS unless a cup stacks on top of another cup. Even if a cup lands sideways or falls on the floor, you can still use your string/rubberband to get it upright.

This was unique. I challenged a team to think of another way to stack cups since I had run out. They started getting really creative.

Have your students start with 3 cups. Once they see that they are successful with 3, they will be inspired to stack more. Then I give them 3 more making it 6. The most I gave a group was 10.

Your job as the teacher is not to problem solve for the students. Your job is to coach and work with students who are struggling to get along with others or who struggle with failure. Cup stacking has a great many lessons involved in it.

I hope your students enjoy this activity as much as mine did on this Friday. This MAYBE takes 30 minutes of your time, but when you see those smiles on faces you will see that it was well worth the time invested in building relationships.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll enjoy reading about Spaghetti Towers.

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