from 18 to 77. They are a very personable group, get along well with one another, and all appear eager to try new things. All have the basic skills (grade levels 5- 8.9) and half of those are in the credentialing level (9- 12.9). So presently I have a group that can blend skills easily for team projects. They also all work well individually. This makes it easy for me to give individual help if needed. Our learning envi- ronment consists of a large classroom with computers and conference tables, and is easily used for a variety of activities. This activity was conducted around conference tables to give participants a feeling of a business “conference” or “brainstorming” atmosphere.
Instructor will then give the team worksheets (Handout 1) explaining what the specific duties are in each category.
Give each team a commonly used item such as a plastic drinking cup. (Each team receives the same item.) Each team ponders their item and observes it carefully. Teams are to determine how to “rename and/or rework” the item into a new, sellable product.
Distribute Handout 2, “Developing a New Product: Basic Steps.” Explain that these steps are suggestions for what is necessary to make the prod- uct economical and marketable to the public. Direct the learners to work together carefully, emphasiz- ing the skills of each team member. The assignment is to write their ideas and findings according to the list of possible steps suggested in Handout 2.
5. Explain that this session is the beginning phase of the project. Answer questions only briefly, then allow the teams to “brainstorm” and work for approximately one hour.
At the end of the hour, give each team an opportunity to briefly explain its new product to the rest of the class. This is usually a really fun part of the class. Learners will be interested in the varied uses that different teams come up with for the same item.
Debrief the exercise with the class using a discussion of the importance of planning, teamwork, and research when completing any work assignment.
Assessment To assess the teamwork used by each team, observe how each team works to see if all members contribute their ideas and energies to the project. Generalized observations by the practitioner of team functioning can be made during the debriefing of the exercise at the end of the class. The uniqueness and completeness of the written exercise produced by each team is also an assessment of learners’ teamwork efforts.
Practitioner Reflection This exercise has been enjoyable and highly successful each time used. The learners have so much fun that they don’t seem to realize all the skills they are actually using.