STEM is all about teamwork, however, students sometimes have difficulties working together. The ideal situation is for every student to participate, share their ideas, and complete a task. Instead, I would often find students arguing, sitting and doing nothing, angry or sad at their teammates. I knew something had to change.
What is my secret??? I decided to create team roles for my students. These are similar to classroom jobs, but related to tasks that must be completed during a STEM challenge. There are six roles with detailed descriptions. I even printed the tags out and put them into standard ID lanyards for students to wear. I wanted to create a fun environment in my classroom as students worked.
The first week I reviewed all of the job roles and displayed the individual posters for students to see. I randomly split my students into small groups and assigned each student a specific role. The students were instructed to only focus on their role during that challenge. This allowed each student to understand the various responsibilities needed during a team challenge. I rotated the jobs each week, so that every student had a chance in each role, and could understand the specific tasks.
After a few weeks of students experiencing each role, they were able to work together in a positive way. The communication flowed smoothly and the arguments stopped. Students knew what was needed to complete a STEM challenge.
This can even be used while keeping students at a distance. Each child can focus on their role in a separate space. The team can collaborate over Google Docs & other platforms.
These job roles are great for any team challenge. Remember:
✓ Roles can be selected randomly or given out by the teacher
✓ Up to 6 roles available per team – you don’t need to use them all if you have smaller groups
✓ Explain the roles to the team before starting a challenge
✓ Hang the posters/display on a bulletin board to promote roles all year
One teacher shared, “I love this resource. In STEM class, it can seem chaotic, but when they students have specific roles, it moves along nicely. Plus, if you're observed, it takes you to the highest quadrant when students can manage their own group. Great tool. My students love using them! Thank you!”
If you use job roles in your classroom, I’d love to hear about your experience!! Comment below or tag me in social media and share your thoughts.