Can you save Fred?

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Fourth-grade students in Christine Kwiatkoski’s class at Frank P. Long Intermediate School participated in a team-building activity called “Saving Fred.” The activity encouraged the students to work together and to demonstrate cooperation, understanding and critical thinking to achieve a common goal.

“This activity is great to do in the beginning of the school year as a way of fostering the importance of working together and listening to others’ ideas,” Ms. Kwiatkowski explained. 

During the activity, the students were given the following scenario and supplies. Fred, a gummy worm sailing on the Great South Bay, never learned to swim and refused to wear a life preserver. After his boat capsized, his life preserver became caught under the boat, and Fred could not reach it without falling into the water and drowning. Materials for the team-building activity included gummy worms (Fred), gummy peach rings (life preservers), a plastic cup (the boat) and paper clips. The students were instructed to use up to four paper clips to save Fred without directly touching Fred, the boat or life preserver with their hands. 

Not only did the students learn to work together to solve a problem, they used their critical thinking skills to devise a solution.