Generally speaking, and regarding California Departament of Education, seventh graders are intensely curious, they prefer active learning experiences, they need to interact with peers during learning activities, they consider academic goals as a secondary level of priority where personal social concerns dominate thoughts. Additionally, my colleagues are complaining about environment problems and internal issues (common in this range of years) so, as a home-teacher, I thought that team building activities could promote better teamwork in the class. They are a great way of improving communication, motivation, productivity and it helps students to get to know each other better, and learn about one's strengths and weaknesses as the challenge of a new experience requires students to collaborate and work together in close proximity.
We were finishing Unit 2 in Biology (Geosphere, minerals and rocks) and I planned a project to study the layers of the Earth and I tried to break the routine using Play-Doh. I have found that the secondary students jump at the chance of using it in the classroom. The steps were easy and instructions were clear, they all started with an equal level of knowledge about the given task: to represent the layers of the Earth with Paly-Doh and cardboard. It gave them the opportunity to be engaged, enabling team building and fostering creativity at the same time. Organization was vital, students had roles and assignments that ranged from bringing the materials needed to planning and allocating time to fulfill the task.
The results were fantastic: it improved leadership skills, the ability to solve a problem and communication between students and, last but not least, they had fun.
Here I share a summary in the video below.