Understanding Roles in Teams


  • To understand different forms of decision making
  • To agree on what form to use in this group or project


  • Several sheets of newspaper
  • Sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper
  • Paper clips
  • Masking tape
  • Envelope
  • Pieces of cardboard of equal size
  • Blocks

Prepare Before


Warm Up

Reflect on the last time you worked with a group on a project. What were some of the roles people took amongst the group?


Have each participant draw a “community superhero” suit that a hero would wear. What objects would a superhero in your community need in his or her tool belt? What image would a hero present? Does your hero stand out in a crowd with bright colors or does your hero look like someone in your school, your neighborhood, your religious community? Have each participant explain to the group the reasons behind each detail of his or her drawing.


One facilitator at each table will explain the instructions. Hand out materials. These need to be exactly the same for all teams. Instruct each group to try to build the highest standing tower using only the materials available. The tower must stand on its own. Allot five minutes to plan (they can touch the materials only to explain their ideas) and 10 minutes to construct. When they are done, measure the towers to see who won.


Within each small group, have a short discussion about how they made decisions and worked together. Record the ground rules they develop on sticky notes. Some questions to spark discussion:

  • How do you think we worked together as a team?
  • What helped us work well together?
  • Did anyone assume a leadership role?
  • What could we have done better?


Have each participant share something he or she noticed in or about the session today.