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Activity

TOOTHPICK TOGETHERNESS

Cooperation can be complicated

This activity explores the idea that while cooperation is always desirable, it can also be complicated. It can get more difficult to cooperate depending on the task and the number of people involved.

Start by having people work in pairs. Each group gets approximately 60 toothpicks. The challenge is to make something on a flat surface with the toothpicks (e.g. a design, face, structure, etc.). Groups can be as creative as they wish. The only rules: each person has an equal say in what the group creates; and each person gets a turn to help make it. Allow ten minutes for groups to make their creations. Then have everyone take a look at what each group made.

Repeat this activity several times, each time combining groups until you run out of people. For example, the second round would consist of groups of four; the third round would consist of groups of eight; and so on.

How do groups decide what to make? Are there any problems deciding what to make? How do groups resolve the problems? Do groups have problems actually making their creations? How do they solve these problems? What happens as the groups get larger and larger? Why does the task get harder?

© SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org

Materials
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Wooden toothpicks

Connections
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Schools (social
  studies; art)
Youth groups

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