4 Favorite Non-Verbal Community Builders



1. 20+ identical, lightweight disposable cups (
e.g. SOLO, Dixie brands)

2. Rubber Band

3. String (2ft long/pc)

Tie 4 to 5 strings to 1 rubber band. Do this for each group.

  1. Instructor stacks cups into a random setup (e.g. pyramid, etc.)

  2. Each group member takes a string. Without talking, the group must use the rubber band to arrange their own stash of cups into the instructor’s setup.

  3. Increase complexity and repeat.

    Too easy? Have only one group member see the target stack. Set a timer.

    Reflect: How did talking affect your other abilities? Were you still able to accomplish the task? What helped you build the tower?

Full resource document with lesson background and cutouts here.

An excerpt from the document, which contains many variations for different age groups, etc:


1. This exercise must be played in complete silence. No talking.

2. You may not point or signal to other players with your hands in any way.

3. Each player must put together their own circle. No one else may show a player how to do it or do it for them.

4. This is an exercise in giving. You may not take a piece from another player, but you may give your pieces, one at a time, to any other members of your group, and other group members may give pieces to you. You may not place a piece in another person's puzzle; players must complete only their own puzzles. Instead, hand the piece to the other player, or place it beside the other pieces in front of them.


Now you may take the pieces out of your envelope and place them in front of you, colored side up. This is a group task, and you will have 10 minutes to make your circles.

Remember, the task is not finished until each of you at your table has a completed circle in front of you. When all of you have finished, raise your hands.

Reflect: What was most challenging? What was easiest? What did you like the most about this activity? What did you like the least about this activity? What messages do you think this activity might be trying to say about working in groups?

GoogleDoc of Do Now, Instructions, & Exit Tickets, and photos of game pieces coming soon.

Writing Checks: Building Narratives From Evidence

Full resource page with lesson background here

GoogleDoc of lesson for my classroom coming soon.

GoogleDoc adaptation of it for my classroom setup coming soon

copyleft notice: You are free to copy and adapt all the teaching resources on this page.
I appreciate feedback on what to keep/toss/expand/scaffold.