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Cooperative Teamwork Exercise: Sort the Cards

Cooperative Teamwork Exercise: Sort the Cards


Purpose

You can use this exercise to explore teamwork, leadership and the ability to work under pressure and cooperatively to solve a problem.

Objective

Sort a deck of cards cooperatively as quickly as you can.

What You Need

  • 2 or 3 decks of playing cards for each group of 3.
  • Prize

Setup

  • Divide the delegates to groups of 3.
  • Distribute 2 or 3 decks of cards to each group.
  • Ask teams to shuffle all their cards together as well as they can.
  • Explain that the objective is to sort the cards by placing them face up on the table as quickly as they can. You can use Poker rules for sorting the cards based on their value or simply sort them based on the image shown above.
  • The team who finishes first without any mistakes is the winner.
  • Give the prize to the winning group and ask them to explain the secret to their success. A winning team usually exhibits good teamwork. The team might nominate a leader which would then assign tasks and coordinates the activities of the team. Better communication among the team also significantly helps the outcome.
  • If most teams performed poorly, you can repeat the exercise after briefing them about leadership and improved communication. This time you can expect them to sort the cards faster and more efficiently.
  • Follow with a discussion.

Timing

Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 15 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes

Discussion

Did you do well as a team? Did you nominate a leader, or a leader emerged in your team? What techniques did you use to improve your performance? What was the effect of group moral and acceptance of leadership to the outcome of your task? What did you learn about teamwork in this exercise and how would you plan to apply it to your world?

Variations

Instead of cards you can give other types of equally challenging tasks. For example you can give the teams a jigsaw puzzle to complete together.