4 Cooperative Learning Activities for Back-to-School

It’s back-to-school season! A new school year means new teachers, new students, and new peers. In order to establish a successful new school year, it’s important to set the building blocks of proper communication and collaboration. A good starting point is with cooperative learning activities to help break the ice between peers. Doing this on the first day of school will help establish a foundation to promote successful collaboration among students.

Critical & Creative Thinking Exercises

These worksheets encourage students to use their critical and creative thinking skills to solve a variety of questions and activities. Get into pairs or small groups and answer a few critical thinking questions. Some questions have only one answer, and some can have more than one. How many answers can your group come up with? Then, use creativity skills to find 3 things that can be described using a series of words. Try out the provided exercises to boost creative and critical thinking. The critical thinking exercises include a series of brain teasers to get students thinking critically. Finally, students get together to create a new design for a wallet. Download these Critical & Creative Thinking Exercises to get started.

Non-Verbal Communication

This activity and team building exercise helps students understand the importance of non-verbal communication. Understanding gestures, facial expressions and eye contact will help students get to know one-another and better communicate with each other. In this team building exercise, students get into groups and must build a bridge together using popsicle sticks, all without talking. Download this Non-Verbal Communication Activity to get started.

Social Cues Quiz

This graphic organizer quizzes students on how well they can read social cues. Social cues are expressions, body language, tone of voice and personal space. Being able to read these cues will make for successful communication and collaboration. Reading social cues will help someone know when to leave a conversation, when to change the subject, when the person being talked to is interested, among others. This quiz will challenge students to read social cues for a variety of scenarios. To turn it into a collaborative activity, have students get into pairs and one student act out the scenario for the other. Download this Social Cues Quiz to get started.

Rube Goldberg Machine

This hands-on activity challenges students to work together to create their own Rube Goldberg Machine. A Rube Goldberg Machine is an everyday simple task that uses a series of hard steps. Each step starts the next. Students will be placed in groups and must work together to solve a problem. Download this Rube Goldberg Machine Activity to get started.

ActivitiesBack to schoolClassroomCollaborationCommunicationCooperationFreeIce-breakerLearningStrategiesTeacherTipsWalkthroughWorksheet