DSSEP Home Page Teams-Games-Tournaments: Cooperative Learning Strategies

1. Select a instructional topic and present it to the students (e.g. the Constitution).


2. Develop a list of questions on the topic. Number them. Cut out small pieces of paper and number them so that the total matches the number of questions that you have developed for the topic to measure understanding (e.g. if you have 35 questions, create small pieces of paper with numbers 1-35 on them). Give a set of questions to one student in each group who reads the questions as their corresponding numbers are drawn from the pile.

*Tip: have students place any numbers for which they were unable to come up with the correct answers in a small bag. Collect those numbers and use them to guide what you will reteach.


3. Team Game - place students in heterogeneous groups of 4-5 by ability and have them review material during this “team” phase by selecting a number from the pile. Groups must be equal in size. Give each group a “Letter Identity” (e.g. Group A) and each student a Number Identity (e.g. Student 1). Students must answer the question that matches the number they selected from the pile. For example, if a student selects #22 from the pile and question #22 is “Why is government divided into 3 branches,” that student is challenged to answer that question. If he or she cannot come up with an answer, a teammate can “steal” the question. Teams share knowledge during this phase of the lesson. (i.e. teach their teammates).


4. Tournament- place students in new groups made up of individuals from each of the "Team Review" tables (step 2). All “Students 1s” go to Table 1 (these might be lower achieving students) while all “Student 2s” (higher achieving) go to Table 2. In the "Game" phase, students are placed in homogeneous groups with students of similar ability and compete against one another. For every question a student answers correctly, he or she earns a point. One person at each “tournament table” must keep scores for every individual at the "Game" table.


5. Students return to their Team Game tables and report their scores. Team scores are compared and the winning team earns a reward.


6. Students take an assessment. The scores for each Team (e.g. A, B, C…) are compiled and averaged. Offer “bonus points” for the team that earns the highest average and/or “improvement points” to the team that improves its average the most over previous assessments.

Recommended Readings: Cooperative Learning: Theory Research and Practice by Robert E. Slavin. Published by Allyn and Bacon, 1990.

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