Student Engagement

Bid and Build

Material Needed:  A large sheet of paper (or a chalkboard, dry erase board, etc.), A writing utensil, Various items that can be used or not used to get a group from point A to point B (i.e. Frisbees, sheets of paper, rope, hula hoops, pieces of wood, or cardboard, and old garbage can, a tumbling mat, etc.), paper, pens and pencils, play money
Time Required: 30-45 minutes
Group Size:  4-20
Purpose: Team building, problem solving skills, adjusting to change, discussing consensus, group decision making skills, and working under pressure

  1. List all of the items that you have gathered on the large sheet of paper, display it for the whole group to see to see, and show them the items listed.

  2. Divide the group into at least two smaller teams of two or more and give each group a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.

  3. Explain to the groups that their task is to attempt to get their entire team from one side of an open area to the other side (at least 10 yards apart). Before beginning, you should mark this area off with tape or rope to show them the distance.

  4. Teams may use any of the items listed, and none of their team members may touch the ground.

  5. In order to earn the right to use the items during the activity they must first use the play money ($100.00 for each team) to bid on the items. They must divide up their money based on what they think will help them the most and write down their bids on the paper give to them. (One team may bid $75.00 on the Frisbees, and $25.00 on the rope, another team may bid $50 on the rope and $25 on the Frisbees and $10 on the paper, and $50 on the cardboard).

  6. After all of the bids are completed, collect them and divide up the materials based upon the highest bid. In the example, the first team would end up with the Frisbees and nothing else, but the second team would get the rope, paper and cardboard. If there is a tie for any item you may have the teams bid again on certain items or divide the items up if possible.

  7. Once the teams have their items, the second part of the teamwork activity occurs. They must now work together to get their entire team across the open area without any team members touching the ground in the process.

Debrief/ Discussion Questions:

  1. Was it hard for your team to agree on what numbers to bid? Why or why not?

  2. What did you do to come to an agreement?

  3. When you disagree with others how do you handle it?

  4. How do you feel about your ability to work with others after this activity?

  5. What role do you usually take when in a group that is making decisions? Do you feel this is a good role for you? Why?

  6. How did it feel to successfully/ unsuccessfully cross the area?

  7. How did you go about developing a strategy?

  8. Did you strategize before finding out what resources you would have or after you knew what you had to work with?

  9. How did it feel to have to abandon/ change your plan?

  10. If you could do this activity again, what would you do differently?

  11. How did time play a factor in your decision making process?

Give team members very little time to decide what to bid on. This will give them very little time to strategize how to get across the area with the given materials and make things more difficult. Also putting a time restraint on how long they have to get across the area will increase the difficulty. Also consider blindfolding, muting people throughout the activity.

Jones, A. (1999). Team Building Activities for Every Group. Richland, WA: Rec Room Publishing. Pg. 64

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