Jewel is a team building activity that is meant to encourage trust and cooperation within your group.
Materials needed: Tape, Oranges or other object in similar shape and size (enough for each one of your participants)
Description: Before you begin, tape circles large enough for 8-10 people to stand in on the floor of your work space.
Divide your students into groups of 8-10 and ask each group to stand along the outside of one of the circles with their toes touching the line. Once there, hand each of your students an orange (or similar object). After each student has their object, ask them to close their eyes and endow that object with a dream or goal of theirs. Encourage them to use something that is really important to them, such as a college acceptance, a job they want, the kind of family they want to have. They should not share what their dream is but do ask them to be specific for themselves. Once everyone has endowed their object with a dream, have your students lie down with their heels at the outside edge of the circle and place their orange (or similar object) on the ground at the top of their head. Ask your students to stand up, leaving their dreams at the outside of circle, and step inside the circle. Each person’s orange (or object) should now be the length of their body away from the circle’s edge. You should now have each group of 8-10 inside a circle with their oranges/objects outside the circle.
Once this has all been done you give the following instructions to each group.
Objective: For each person to get his/her dream and bring it back into the circle.
But there are a few rules…
Rule One: You nor your teammates may leave the circle or touch the floor outside the circle.
Rule Two: You or your teammates may not use another object, such as a belt or shoe to retrieve your dream/goal.
Rule Three: Each person must get their own dream.
Rule Four: You may work together to help your teammates get their dreams.
After all the directions have been given, allow your students to begin.
Your students will attempt many different ways of achieving the objective. Allow them to try and fail. But make sure they are safe; if it looks like someone is about to be hurt, remind them that no one needs to get hurt to achieve the objective. They will figure out that they will not be able to achieve their dreams without the help of their teammates. Figuring out their strategy and then working together to get their dreams/goals will take a while. That’s okay. The longer it takes, the more they will learn.
Once each of your students has achieved the objective and everyone on each team has retrieved his/her dream/goal, ask them to sit in a circle so you can debrief the experience.
- Does anyone want to share what they endowed their orange with?
- How did you and your team figure out the best way for everyone to get their dreams? What worked? What didn’t
- What did it feel like to support other people as they reached for their dreams? What got in the way? What helped?
- What did it feel like to get your dream?
- What did you need from your teammates in order to get your dream?
Try it on: Novice vs Experienced This activity can aid in teaching team building, problem-solving, and grit. It is important to allow enough time and allow for failures in order for your students to get the most SEL learning from this activity. If rushed or if your students are given the “answer” you minimize their learning.
Assessing Impact: Facilitator’s Note The following are some notes that you may want to hit in your debrief of this exercise.
It is important to point out that when faced with an obstacle or challenge the solution may take many attempts before you find one that works. Trial and error is an important part of learning and growing as a team and as individuals. If each group gave up when their first idea didn’t work, no one would have achieved their dreams.
It is also important to be aware of what everyone needs from a team in order for everyone on that team to be successful (i.e. communication, trust, leadership, encouragement). Allowing your students to verbalize these concepts of teamwork supports what they have just done as a team.
You may also point out that the importance of each member on the team. The concept that each of us needs other people in order to achieve the things we want in life. This idea inherently then requires each of us to be vulnerable as we trust other people with our dreams. There is a moment in the exercise where your students have to completely let go and rely on their teammates (the “point of no return”). At that point it is all of them working together to achieve one person’s dream. If done well, that person then turns around to help someone else with their dream.
With all of the above points, you want to point to the activity they just did but then broaden that scope to real life so that they can transfer the learning from the classroom to real life scenarios.
Join the Discussion
How could you implement this in your program?