On Friday the EE team travelled to Southfields Community College in south west London to pilot our Teamwork Masterclass, a new challenge day from Edventuring. As the name suggests, the day takes students on a crash course of teamwork, as they work together in teams on some high-octane and increasingly challenging tasks.

The whole of year 10 was involved in the day and to make sure everyone could fit in the hall, the day was divided into two halves, with one half of the year taking part in the morning and the second in the afternoon. At exactly 8.33am, 120 students were seated in the school hall awaiting their first set of instructions. About ten minutes later there was a flurry of activity as students rushed to one of four zones to find out what teams they were in. Their first task was to build a bridge that would span the length of their table and stand at least one foot above it. Having been at EE for over a year now, I’ve seen many a bridge built. But I must say, the bridges made by Southfields students were some of the finest I’ve ever seen! There were tall ones with multiple stories, strong ones that had been thrice reinforced and intricate ones with tunnels, look-out points and decorative features to rival the Ponte Vecchio and Tower Bridge – and all in 25 minutes!

After the first task, year 10s had got off to a stonking start and it was time to hear their second set of instructions. This time, students’ strategic and persuasive skills were put to the test as they took part in the Negotiation Top Trumps. Half the teams represented a development company wanting to build a shopping centre in the middle of town, trying make as much profit as possible; the other half represented the community and wanted to maximise community members’ happiness and benefits to the environment. A very different type of team game, students really impressed with their insightful discussions and professionalism when it came to negotiating with one another.

Having completed the reflection section of their Teamwork Masterclass booklet, students received their last set of instructions. Their final task was to design a new, unique product and create prototype in just ten minutes. Given the highly demanding time restrictions, teams came up with some truly incredible ideas. One team, Team Rage (an aggressive name for a very jovial and polite team!) came up with the “Boom Hat” – a hat with ear flaps that played music or could be used as a phone – genius! Another came up with the brilliantly named “Egg-spert” – an egg cracker which got rid of shell and egg white, leaving yokes seamlessly intact.

By the end of the morning, students were a bit tired but happy and feeling the buzz of great teamwork! As for us, we had twenty minutes to put chairs back under tables and gather bridge building, negotiation and product design resources together to do it all again with the second half! Students were an absolute joy to work with and approached the tasks with such enthusiasm. Congratulations to the four winning teams, who have been invited to spend the day at a top London business next term. They will spend the day working alongside professionals from the company, with fantastic views of central London and a delicious lunch put on for them to boot. Can’t wait for the next one!

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