Problem Solving Activities

Problem Solving Activities
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Team Building Problem Solving Activities

We selected four fun yet effective team building problem solving activities to support your team development. It’s time to support your team in their personal growth and work on those problem-solving skills.

The best way to do that is through some targeted team building activities.

Bridge Build Activity
Bridge Build

Using the materials provided, two teams must work together to build a bridge, with each sub-team constructing half the bridge each. Bridge build is an excellent activity for developing communication skills, problem solving, and creative thinking.

During the challenge, teams cannot see each other and must rely on their communication skills to build an identical design. You can use anything for building the bridges.

Some suggestions for materials: newspapers, Lego, toy bricks, straws, paper, cardboard, etc. Other essential resources: tape, paper, pens, tape measure, and canvas or sheet.

Required group size 8 to 16, enough people for at least two sub-teams of four or more.

This is an excellent exercise to use as a lead in to a project workshop or team meeting. It gets teams communicating effectively and listening to each other.

Another skill that can be developed during the task is leadership. You can let this happen naturally within a team or you pick a team leader before the start of the challenge.

Instructions

  • Before to the start of the activity, setup the room or area with a divide so teams cannot see what the other team is doing.
  • Explain to the group, that they will be split into two sub-teams and must work together to create a complete bridge with each team building half a bridge each.
  • They will be separated during the challenge and will only be able to communicate verbally to ensure that each build meets the design specifications.
  • Give the team ten minutes to brainstorm and come up with a plan for the design. Then each team has 30 minutes to build their half of the design.
  • Once the time is up, remove the division that separates the two teams and see how close each construction was to each other.
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The Barter Puzzle Exercise
The Barter Puzzle

The barter puzzle is a good activity if you want team members to solve problems, practice strategies and negotiation skills. You need at least 3 puzzles with 50 pieces or less.

Divide the team members into equal groups of 4-5 people (although not ideal, it is possible to play in groups of 3). Give each group a different puzzle.

It is your task to solve the puzzle, however there is a catch. Each puzzle has had pieces of the other puzzles randomly shuffled.

Explain to all the groups that other teams may have the parts they need. Members must strategize, assign roles, and negotiate with other teams to get the pieces they need to complete their puzzle first.

This activity offers a double challenge: first, they must solve the puzzle in a short period of time, second, they must convince the other team to change the necessary pieces for them.

Moment of reflection: What did you do to get your pieces? What communication challenges did you have?. Did the people on your team have specific roles? For example, a leader, a puzzle builder, a liaison with the other teams, etc.

Protect The Egg
Protect the Egg

Protect the Egg is a teambuilding activity that involves collaboration, problem solving, and creative teamwork. This exercise in teambuilding can be messy, so choose an appropriate setting where making a mess is acceptable.

Groups build a structure out of ordinary materials and try to protect a raw egg from breaking when dropped from a high elevation. The recommended group size is: teams of four or five people. Several materials are needed: raw eggs, several plastic straws, scotch tape, newspaper, and other materials of your choice.

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The mission is to protect the egg from cracking using teamwork, creativity, and a good design. You will drop each structure at least fifteen feet, and so the goal is for each structure to be able to withstand such a fall.

Each team will only be given limited resources, and so they must be wise with what they have. They may not use any other resources other than what is given to them.

Decide on an appropriate amount of time (e.g. 20-25 minutes) and then instruct them to begin! Tell them to place their egg inside their structure. When time is up, collect all the structures.

The structures are dropped from at least 15 feet in elevation and then carefully inspected to see if the eggs survived.

This activity is useful to illustrate the importance of teamwork. Ask everyone to reflect on how their group accomplished the task, what worked, what was challenging, etc.

The Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower
Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower

Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower is a fantastic group activity for team building and collaborative problem solving. Collaboration is the factor that generates motivation to contribute to the achievement of the objectives and the good performance of the group.

This problem-solving exercise pushes the group to think on the spot while developing communication and leadership skills. A positive environment will encourage people to actively participate, build relationships and accept challenges.

The goal of this activity is to see which team can use the materials provided to build the tallest tower in a 30-minute time period. The team must build the tower so that it can stand on its own, without any support!

See also  Team Communication Exercises

In advance, prepare one kit containing the following items for each small group: 20 sticks of spaghetti, 1 metre (3′) of string, 1 metre (3′) of masking tape and 1 x marshmallow.

Gather your group and divide them into small teams of approx 4 to 8 people. Distribute one kit to each small group. Instruct the groups to use (only) the contents of the kits to build the tallest free-standing structure, and to place the marshmallow on top (highest peak of structure.)

Explain that every group has exactly 20 minutes to complete the task. Groups are permitted to use as little or all of their resources and break the spaghetti, string and tape as they choose.

The team with the tallest (free-standing) structure supporting the highest marshmallow at the end of the time, wins.

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