My absolute favorite back to school team building game is a game I call the “Fail Forward Maze” but it is known online as the Maze Game. I use this game to not only build teamwork but also to help teach the importance of taking risks and failing forward in order to develop a growth mindset.
When I was the Instructional Coach at Quantum Academy I developed lessons for teachers to use during homeroom time. I created this series of lessons about developing perseverance and growth mindset that are meant to be short and quick. The Fail Forward Maze Game is a part of the lesson series. Feel free to borrow my lesson slidedeck!
Here is how the game works:
Materials you need:
- Sidewalk chalk or blue tape
- Paper and pen (or print several copies of this document)
- Draw a 4×4 grid on the ground with chalk or use blue tape to create the grid on the floor of your classroom. (Note: you may want to keep this grid around for a bit because your students will ask to play this game over and over!)
- Before the game begins draw the same grid on a piece of paper. Then draw a path on your paper grid through the maze. You can create a simple path in the very beginning and as your class gets more experience with the game you can toss some challenges at them.
- Have students line up near the grid. Explain to the class that they will try to find their way through the maze.
- Explain the rules:
- No one can talk. But you can communicate in other ways.
- Always remain positive and silently cheer for your classmates.
- One person will be in the maze at a time.
- You must step into a box in the grid. If it is correct, the teacher will say YES. If the teacher says YES, then you can choose another box to step into. If you step in a box that is not part of the correct path, the teacher will say NO and you leave the grid and go to the end of the line.
- Each time a new person enters the maze, they must start back at the beginning.
- When the class has figured out the entire path, celebrate! Use this time to teach more about the growth mindset.
Here is a link to my Growth Mindset Youtube Playlist. My favorite videos about failing forward is the Michael Jordan Nike commercial and the Meet the Robinson’s scene.
- How did it feel when you were unsure of which box to step into?
- Has there ever been a moment in your school experience where you felt the same?
- How did you overcome the feeling of being afraid to step forward?
- Did stepping into the wrong box create a negative consequence or positive opportunity?
- How did this activity help build teamwork?