At the beginning of the school year, I really wanted to build a class community. My school creates heterogenous homeroom classes and then levels for reading and math. Sometimes the homeroom class doesn't really connect because some kids are never with others during the core subjects. I wanted a fun way to have the kids and work together before we started switching for classes. I found this activity at Science Gal's blog. It was great! Most groups figured it out with out too much trouble.
Materials per group:
1 rubber band
4 pieces of strings
(Science Gal suggests that you tie the strings to the rubber band prior to the activity, but if you want it to be more difficult, don't.)
Some of the kids at work:
This last group had the most trouble. There were two very strong personalities that clashed. I would not let them change groups and everyone had to be working a string. It took awhile but they finally got it.
I feel like this was a very beneficial activity for the beginning of the school year. This activity was a simple set up. It allowed the kids to talk, work cooperatively, and practice classroom expectations. I am definitely planning on using it again.