Synergize: The Cup Challenge

My school became a leadership charter last year and we’ve been looking for ways to incorporate leadership skills throughout our curriculum. We did a professional book study on Steven R. Covey’s The Leader in Me: How Schools Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time. This powerful book is based on Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective leaders, and gave us a common language to use with our students, kindergarten through grade 8.
Leadership habit #6 is SYNERGIZE: the ability to work well with others and use teamwork to achieve a common goal. The Cup Challenge takes minimal prep time and is a perfect lesson on synergy!!

Divide students into groups of 4. Give each group 6 large plastic cups, a rubberband, and 1 piece of yarn or string 12”-18” long.  Demonstrate how to tie the string to the rubberband, forming 4 corners. This will be used as a tool, as each student pulls their yarn, stretching the rubber band larger.The group sets up their 6 cups: 3 mouth down and 3 mouth up, balanced on each other. The goal is for students using only their rubberband-yarn tool (no hands) to move the cups into a pyramid (base of 3 cups, 2 cups, 1 cup on top). Teams must use synergy for this to work!
Not only was this lesson so interesting (and entertaining!) to watch, but observing which groups actually worked together to be successful was eye-opening! One group built their pyramid so quickly, that I gave them 10 cups to build their pyramid (4-3-2-1)! 

A fantastic discussion on synergy followed this Cup Challenge! Working together (or not) was very evident in certain groups; but they all now understand this necessary skill! How do you teach teamwork?

1 comment

  1. great Idea, I think i'll try this with my student also. Thanks for sharing