Can You Lift It?

Are you looking for a team building activity for your class? Maybe it’s the beginning of the year and your students are still getting to know one another? Or it’s the middle of the year and you’ve found your class has fallen into the slump where they are not respecting one another and need a reminder about how to successfully work together as a team? Lucky for you, I have the perfect team building activity for all grade levels!

All you need is the following supplies:

  • binder ring - any size, but I used a 3 inch

  • yarn

  • random supplies to balance

    • I used the following items:

      • a ball

      • cone

      • tin can with objects balancing on top

      • ball of yarn

      • stuffed animals - small ones and big ones that aren’t as stable

      • matchbox car on top of the tin can

Here’s a step-by-step guide to making this activity come to life!

  1. cut yarn to length

  2. tie 1 piece of yarn for each student on the binder ring

  3. have students sit in a circle holding the string

  4. start the binder ring on the ground with an object sitting on top of it

  5. students must work together as a team to lift the object off the group to a standing position and back down to the ground without falling off

Tips & Tricks:

  • Identify a team leader. Only the team leader can give direct instructions about what should happen (ex. when to lift the string, how tightly to hold the string, how quickly to lift the object).

  • If a student wants to give a suggestion to the team leader they must raise their hand.

  • If you find your students are having easy success with lifting the objects, try something new - have them lift the objects off the ground and walk through the door or down the hallway! Differentiate the activity for each class and where they’re at in the moment.


You’ll find your students leave the activity feeling more like one family. They’ve learned to talk through their frustrations, give advice, encourage one another, and experience both failure and success! Failure is important because they will learn more than a project that provides no challenge. Push your students to learn to grapple with the hard tasks and they’ll be better for it!

Here is an extra bonus for you - check out the presentation that I use with my students to go through the challenge. If you do this challenge with your students, share it with me! Tag me on Twitter @ImagineerSTEAM, so I can see you and your students in action.