Imagine Big
Leadership lessons on teamwork and creativity

Grades 6—12
About This Lesson Plan

SUBJECT
Cooperation and Teamwork

GRADE
6-12

DURATION
1 Class Period

Lesson 4: Better Together

Students will identify and analyze the benefits and challenges of collaboration.

OBJECTIVE
Students will:

  • Identify and evaluate several ways that various fields work together.
  • Identify and evaluate the benefits and challenges of collaboration in their chosen career field.
  • Research and analyze one cross-field collaboration.
  • Discuss the importance of collaboration for innovation.

Common Core Standards

  • Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • Gather relevant information from print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
  • Prepare for and participate in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own ideas clearly and persuasively.

MATERIALS

Better Together worksheet
Note cards with career fields written on them (science, technology, engineering, math, art, education, politics, agriculture)

DIRECTIONS

Definition
Collaborate: To work jointly with others toward an intellectual pursuit; to cooperate and assist an enemy or occupying force; to cooperate with an agency or instrumentality that one is not immediately connected with.

Warm-up
Define "collaboration" with your students. Introduce the idea that collaboration among experts in different fields often happens in response to an opportunity or problem.

Distribute the career field note cards to your students. Ask two students to share their chosen field. Ask the class to identify opportunities when those two fields might collaborate.

Consider the following for each pair:

  • What problems or opportunities might prompt these two fields to come together?
  • What can each field contribute or add to the other?
  • Why should these fields work together? 
  • What challenges might arise?

Repeat this warm-up three to four times.

Small Group
Have each student write down the career field they are most interested in. Divide students into small groups of two, three, or four so that two fields are paired together (for example, two students who chose "engineering" are paired with two who chose "math").

Direct each group to choose a cross-field collaboration between two experts or two companies. As they work, students will complete the Better Together worksheet that will guide them through the questions:

  • What problem did these two fields come together to solve? Or, what opportunity did they present?
  • How has collaboration had a positive effect on each field?
  • How has this collaboration affected the people who benefit from their solutions?
  • What does each field bring to the collaboration?
  • What was the result of the collaboration?
  • What challenges might arise when these fields collaborate?

Reflection
Choose one student from each group to share their findings. As a class, discuss:

  • What similarities do you see among the problems that these collaborations addressed?
  • What factors helped facilitate collaboration?
  • What factors made these collaborations successful?
  • What challenges do you think these collaborators faced?

Finally, using their collaboration example, ask students to write a short response to the question: Could your problem have been solved without collaboration? Why or why not?

Extension
These activities will continue the discussion of collaboration:

  • Have students reflect on their experience. What did they enjoy about collaborating? What was challenging? How would they rate their group's ability to collaborate? If they were working with the same group again, what would they do differently?
  • Technology is constantly affecting how we connect and collaborate. Have students research one aspect of technology (social networking, communication technology, etc.) and explain how it has changed collaboration.

Helpful Hints

  • This project requires collaboration, where everyone takes an active role and is accountable for the final product and learning that happens. Before the activity, review the expectations for collaboration and check in with groups periodically to ensure that they are collaborating as effectively as possible.
  • Some students may struggle to work collaboratively. If a group struggles when working together, resist the urge to try to fix the problem or break up the group.
  • As students cite information, provide them with a model for APA and MLA citing of Internet sources.
    o APA: Author (date). Article Title. Journal or Site Title. Date the information was received, from URL.
    o MLA: Author. "Article Title." Journal Title. Vol. Issue. (Year) Pages. Date retrieved information.
    o For more information on citing sources visit www.apastyle.org/ or www.mla.org/.

Field Extension
See examples of successful collaboration during these Disney Youth Education Series adventures:

  • Techniques of Teamwork Through Improvisation at Walt Disney World® Resort gives students insights into how improvisational theories can be applied to real-life situations at home, school or in future careers. Every student plays a role in a mock production and is taught professional communication techniques that, with practice, help build confidence, unleash creativity and cultivate teamwork.
  • Disney's Approach to Leadership and Teamwork at Disneyland® Resort teaches students the four C's of Walt Disney leadership. Students will practice overcoming obstacles by working as a team and thinking creatively to develop solutions. Exercises designed to reinforce courage, curiosity and constancy aim to give students the confidence to set goals and accomplish their dreams.
Read detailed field study descriptions and enroll your students at DisneyYES.com.
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