Saturday, 22 January 2011

Newspaper Bridges - One Year On

Last year I wrote one of my first posts about a team building activity where students made newspaper bridges out of selotape and, yes you've guessed it NEWSPAPERS!!!

I also posted a video on YouTube which you can see here. The video has been watched 482 times.

I did 2 workshops with small groups of 16-18 year olds (about 10 students in each group).

This year the ESOL provision for 16-18 year olds has grown to around 40 students from Beginner to Level 1. We held a larger activity in the exam hall at the centre where I teach. We had 6 members of staff (3 teachers and 3 support assistants).

I used this document to introduce the activity to the learners along with the video.

We set some basic rules.

  1. We negotiated and decided on the "SPAN" of the bridge.
  2. We agreed that it must be possible to roll a football under the bridge.
  3. We agreed to test the strength of the bridge by placing dictionaries on the bridge.
  4. The bridge couldn't be attached to the floor, furniture or held up by the students.
  5. The students had 10 minutes to plan their bridges.
  6. The students had 10 (extended to 15) minutes to make their bridges.

The students were split in to groups of 5 or 6 (mixed nationalities and ESOL levels).

Before they were allowed to get their hands on the newspapers they were encouraged to share ideas on how they would make their bridges for about 10 minutes.

The students were then supported in constructing their bridges. Questions were asked to help the students reflect on their designs.

Once the bridges were made we had a break of about 15 minutes.

After the break we gave feedback to the whole cohort. Students were invited to reflect upon different aspects of the group work.

  • Did they play their part? 
  • Who was the leader? 
  • Did your team listen well? 
  • What does this activity tell the tutors about the students?
  • What transferable skills did you learn?
  • How could you make a better bridge?
We then scored the bridges on the criteria given at the start of the activity.

Span, height and strength.

You can find the new video here. Any comments welcome :o)

Please note that the video has been edited to protect the identity of students.

1 comment:

  1. Haha! That is excellent, MisterMike!

    Did all the teams work together well, or was there some fighting???

    On a slightly different point - I like the photography/post production, the grainy images seem like a good way to protect the students exact appearances. Really appreciate the subtitles as well, nice and clear explanation for the students.

    Great stuff

    Mike =)


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