Team Building Activity: Build a Plane

Build a Plane

Ideal for groups of any size, this team building activity challenges participants to practice planning and communication skills, as well as adapt to new situations and reflect on the importance of being flexible. If you have a group who will be implementing a project together, this is perfect for showing them the importance of planning ahead.

Time Needed: 25-30 minutes

Group Size: 6 or more (Challenge and fun increases with group size!)

Materials: Legos, split into plastic bags

Setup: Assemble one bag of Legos (about 30 pieces each) for each small group in the room. Set up stations/tables for each of your small groups (ideal small group size is 3-5 people). Ensure that they clear off their table’s surface before beginning.

Directions: After splitting the participants up into small groups (make sure you have a bag of Legos for each group), tell the participants:

“In a moment, you will receive a bag of Legos, and your task is simple: using just the Legos provided, you will design and create an airplane using all the Legos that are provided to you. The plane does not need actually to fly. You will have 5 minutes to plan your airplane, and you will not be able to touch the pieces during that time. Then you will have 15 minutes to build the airplane.”

Pass out the bags of Legos, and announce that the 5 minutes of planning has started. Make sure no one touches their Legos during this time. After 5 minutes of planning, announce they can start to build their planes.

After 5 minutes of building, get the group’s attention and say:

“As a team, you will now shift to the next table/group to your right, and leave your Legos at your current stations.”

After all groups have moved to their new tables, tell them:

“You can continue to build, and you have 10 minutes to make your airplane.”

After 5 minutes of building, get the group’s attention and say:

“You will now go back to your original table, and you have 5 minutes to complete your airplane.”

After the final 5 minutes of building, let the teams show off their airplanes and briefly share about their plane and process.

Debrief Questions:

  • How did your team respond once they were at the new table?
  • When you arrived at your new table, in what ways were your work on that plane influenced by the other team’s work?
  • What were your reactions when you returned to your original table with your plane?
  • Why is it important to have a thoughtful, written action plan?
  • What lessons can we learn about planning from this activity? What lessons can we learn about flexibility?
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