Overcoming Obstacles

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Lesson 6: Cooperation

Standards Addressed

  • Students will learn how to interact and work cooperatively in teams.
  • Students will practice the skills of taking turns, listening to others, and speaking clearly.
  • Students will use active and attentive communication skills, building on others' ideas to explore, learn, enjoy, debate, and exchange information.


  • Students will understand that cooperation is teamwork.

  • Students will practice cooperation by working together for a common cause and sharing the benefits.

  • Students will understand how it feels to help someone and to have someone help them.

  • Students will learn the importance of communication when cooperating and how to cooperate better at school and at home.


  • Two decks of playing cards (“Starter”)

  • Two small baskets (“Starter”)

  • Board or chart paper and markers (“I Do” and “You Do”)

  • Large plastic drinking cups (“We Do”)

  • Beads (“We Do”)


5 Minutes

Tell students, “Today, I am going to show you how teamwork helps to get a job done.” Ask three students to assist you and tell them that they will be working together as a team against you. Spread out both decks of playing cards and identify which deck is yours and which belongs to the team of students. Tell the class, “Watch as I pick up these cards, one by one, and place them in my basket, and watch as your classmates cooperate to pick up the other set of cards and place them, one by one, in their basket. We will all work as quickly as we can. Notice which of us gets the job done more quickly—me working alone, or the team of three. Ready—go!”

Teacher Presented Knowledge / I Do

15 Minutes

After the activity is performed, ask students to determine who finished the job more quickly. (Students should respond that the group of three students finished the job more quickly because they had more people helping.) Tell students that effective cooperation can help make a job easier and quicker. Then, ask students, “Do you think these three students would have finished the job more quickly than I did if they had been arguing the whole time? Has anyone ever seen a team fall apart because of whining, arguments, or bad attitudes?” Allow students time to respond. Then say, “Today, we are going to learn how to act and speak effectively when cooperating in a group.”

Draw a T-chart on a board or anchor chart with one side labeled “Cooperation Sounds Like:” and the other side labeled “Cooperation Looks Like:” and, as a class, brainstorm how a team should act when cooperating. (Examples of what cooperation looks like can include speaking softly, remaining calm, listening to teammates, letting each teammate speak, taking turns, encouraging others, including everyone, etc.)

Brainstorm the words, phrases, or sentence starters team members should use to encourage each other and promote cooperation. (Examples of what cooperation sounds like can include “Please,” “Thank you,” “Sorry,” “Can I help?” “I disagree with you because…,” “I agree with you because…,” “Can you explain again?” etc.)

Conclude by telling students that it is important to use cooperative language and actions when working as a team.

Guided Student Practice / We Do

15 Minutes

Divide students into small groups and give each group a cup filled with plastic beads. (Make sure each cup is filled with the same amount of plastic beads. To do this, use a measuring cup to measure the amount of beads.) Instruct students to wait while you pour out each cup of beads in front of each group. Tell students that, when directed to begin, each group will work together as a team to clean up their beads by placing them into the cup. Explain that students are going to work together to complete the task. Monitor to see that each student does their share of the work. Listen for cooperative language and compliment teams when they use it. After the activity is completed, ask students to share which cooperative language and actions they heard and saw their teammates use.

Student Independent Practice / You Do

15 Minutes

Create an anchor chart that defines cooperation titled “Working Together to Get Something Done.” Have students add examples to the anchor chart of times they have worked together to get something done (for example, cleaning up the house, working in the yard, doing the dishes, planning a party, working on a school project, etc.). Ask students to discuss the benefits of cooperation when doing these things.


5 Minutes

Remind students that it is important to learn how to cooperate with others. Review actions and language that promote effective cooperation.

Student Assessment

  1. What would have happened if someone had not done their share of the work?
  2. Is it better to offer help or to wait to be asked for help?
  3. Do you think you cooperate well?
  4. How can you cooperate better with your classmates?

Extensions for Lesson 6: Cooperation

Art Extension

Create a “cooperation quilt“ by having each student draw a picture of cooperation in action and attach the drawings together to create a “quilt.”

Art Extension

Divide students into groups of four to play a game of Pictionary, which entails one student at a time drawing out a given word and having their team attempt to guess what is being drawn. If the team cannot figure it out, then other teams can “steal” the point and attempt a guess.

ELA Extension

Have students write a paragraph about what teamwork means to them.

Drama Extension

Have students role-play situations that demonstrate cooperation.

Literature Extension

Discuss The Little Red Hen with students and ask them the following questions:

  1. What do the Cat, Dog, and Mouse like to do all day? What does the Little Red Hen do all day?
  2. What do the Cat, Dog, and Mouse say when the Little Red Hen asks them for help with making a cake? How do you think this made the Little Red Hen feel?
  3. What happens when the Little Red Hen bakes the cake? Do you think she should have shared her cake with the Cat, Dog, and Mouse? Why or why not?
  4. What lesson can we learn about cooperating from this story?

Guide students to understand that cooperating makes tasks easier and benefits all involved.

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