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Team Building Through Physical Challenges

Team Building Through Physical Challenges

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    Help your students develop interpersonal skills as well as motor skills with the activities in Team Building Through Physical Challenges. These 22 Outward Bound-type tasks challenge students to work together to achieve a common goal. Along the way, they'll learn to value teamwork, practice leadership skills, improve listening skills, and appreciate individual differences.

    The activities in Team Building Through Physical Challenges are broken down into three levels--introductory, intermediate, and advanced. These levels make the challenges ideal for students in upper elementary through high school. For each of the physical challenges, you'll find a summary that includes:

    -a detailed description,

    -success criteria,

    -an equipment list,

    -set-up instructions,

    -rules and sacrifices,

    -possible solutions, and

    -additions and variations.

    Throughout each challenge, kids learn teamwork. As they struggle, fail, reorganize, persevere, and finally succeed, students learn to brainstorm solutions, work together to develop a plan of attack, listen to others and consider their ideas, and praise and encourage team members. Each member of the group is important, because everyone must meet the challenge before the team can succeed. Team members learn, in addition to motor skills, important social skills by taking turns filling the roles of organizer, praiser, encourager, summarizer, and recorder.

    Team Building Through Physical Challenges is easy for physical educators, classroom teachers, and recreation leaders to use. Cards that explain each challenge to your students are contained in the text; simply copy and laminate them, and they're ready to use. The activities require equipment that is readily available--tumbling mats, ropes, balance beam, cage ball, tires, and others. Diagrams show you exactly how equipment should be set up, and photos illustrate possible solutions for each challenge.

    Watch your students develop self-confidence and new skills as they explore these physical challenges. Not only will they improve their fitness and motor skills, but they'll also learn important social skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

    Sample physical challenges:

    Alphabet Balance Beam (introductory)--Group members attempt to rearrange their starting order while positioned on a balance beam. They begin in a random order and the instructor or members choose a way to rearrange (alphabetically by first name, by street address, etc.)

    Bridge Over the Raging River (intermediate)--All group members must travel from one end of a gymnasium space (land) to the other end without touching the floor (river). The group can use only the following equipment: four automobile tires, two 8-foot length 2 x 4's, and 2 jump ropes (preferably sash cord).

    Power Line (advanced)--Group members cross over a high horizontal bar by using an 8-foot 2 x 4 board to help transfer teammates from one side of the power line to the other side. Individuals cannot touch the bar (power line) with the board or their bodies.

    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1. Developing Teamwork
    Why Develop Teamwork?
    Success Experiences
    Decision Making and Learning by Taking Risks
    Physical Education's Role in a Child's Development

    Chapter 2. Warming Up to Team Building
    Introducing Physical Challenges
    Team Workout Warm-up
    Organizing the Challenges
    Adaptations for Special Children and Situations

    Chapter 3. Introductory Challenges
    Alphabet Balance Beam
    River Crossing
    The Rock
    The Snake
    Stepping Stones I
    Teamwork Walk
    The Whole World in Their Hands
    The Tire Bridge
    The Wall I

    Chapter 4. Intermediate Challenges
    Bridge Over the Raging River
    Human Billboard
    Jumping Machine
    Tarzan of the Jungle
    The Wall II
    The Wild River

    Chapter 5. Advanced Challenges
    The Black Hole
    The Electric Fence
    The Grand Canyon
    The Power Line
    Stepping Stones II
    Jungle Trail

    About the Author

    Don Glover has taught physical education, including adapted physical education, since 1967 at the preschool, elementary, secondary, and post secondary levels. In addition, he teaches graduate classes in adapted physical education methods at St. Thomas University in St. Paul.

    In 1981, Glover was recognized as Minnesota's Teacher of the Year, and in 1989 he was named the Minnesota Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year. He has published numerous magazine and journal articles on physical education and sport and has been a clinician at more than 50 workshops and clinics.

    Glover earned his master's degree in physical education from Winona State University. He is a member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), and the Minnesota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD), and the Minnesota Education Association.

    Dan Midura is the elementary physical education resource teacher for the Roseville, Minnesota Area School District. He has taught physical education since 1970.

    Midura received his master's degrees from the University of Minnesota and was selected Outstanding Physical Education Student in 1970. He is a member of AAHPERD and MAHPERD.


    "Each physical challenge includes opportunities in communication, decision making, conflict resolution, risk taking and affirmation. For teachers the book can best be used at the beginning of a school year or between units to set standards for group work, acceptance, cooperation. etc. Recreators, coaches, youth sport leaders, church groups may choose to use activities in this book to build relationships among participants."
    Peter Werner
    Professor, Department of Physical Education, University of South Carolina