Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Shake It Up: Working With New People

Shayna Pond, Teresa Lansford | Published: September 15th, 2022 by K20 Center


Students explore the benefits of working in a group with diverse viewpoints and reflect on their own work preferences and how they shape the ways they contribute to group work.

Essential Questions

  • What are the benefits of working with new people?

  • What skills do we need to work well with others?

Learning Goals

  • Analyze how our individual values guide our working styles and preferences.

  • Evaluate how diverse perspectives benefit a task.

Materials List

  • Activity Slides (attached)

  • Mystery Artifact picture (attached; one per group)

  • Artifact Clues handout (attached; one half-sheet per group)

  • Artifact Detective handout (attached; one per group)

  • I Think/We Think Note Organizer handout (attached; one per student)

  • Crash Landing Consensus activity packet (attached)

  • Values Chart handout (attached; one per student)

  • Sticky notes

  • Envelopes to hold clues (5 per group)


Using the attached Activity Slides, display slides 3-4 to share the essential questions and learning objectives.

Move to slide 5 and place students in groups of five. Give each group one of the attached Mystery Artifact pictures, a set of clue envelopes, and a copy of the attached Artifact Detective handout. Instruct groups to have one person hold each envelope and to not open them until instructed.

Ask groups to first look at the artifact picture and make a guess as to what they think it was used for. Instruct them to record their guess and reasonings in the “Photo” box on Artifact Detective handout.

Next, ask those with Clue Envelope 1 to open their envelopes and read the clue to the group. Using this new information, groups should determine if they have a new guess and record their guess on the “Clue #1” box Artifact Detective handout. If they still believe their guess is correct they should record how the clue supports that guess. Students should repeat the process until all clues have been read.

After students have recorded their final conclusions and reasonings, move to slide 6 and reveal what the artifact was used for. Have students discuss and share their thoughts about the process with the questions below.

  • Were any of your guesses correct?

  • Which clues were the most helpful?

  • Were there clues or aspects of the artifact that kept you from reaching the right answer?

Explain that the contribution of every group member is important, whether in helping find the right answer or keeping everyone on the right track. In the real world, like in this game, each new perspective, piece of information, or idea can help us develop a better picture and understanding of our world. Explain to students that they are going to have the chance to participate in tasks that consider how they and others contribute to group work. Like in this task, many different perspectives from others can help us reach our goals.


Display slide 7 and introduce the next activity. Pass out a copy of the attached I Think/We Think Note Organizer handout to each student. Using the attached Crash Landing Consensus packet and following the Facilitator Instructions, begin the activity with students.

When reading the announcement during the introduction, move to slide 8 so that students have a visual reminder of their task.

During the Mix and Mingle and Q&A sections, use the timer embedded in slide 9. If more time is needed, refer to the K20 Timer playlist on YouTube for more options.

When students are ready to make a final decision, move to slide 10 and present them with their voting options.

After everyone has agreed on the solution and the activity is complete, ask the group to share reflections on the quality of and satisfaction with the final resolution.

  • Do you feel the final solution is higher quality than the suggested solutions in our initial list?

  • Are you surprised by this decision?

  • Did you have ideas anything like this final solution at the beginning of the activity when we were first posed the problem?


25 Minute(s)

Display slide 11 and explain to students that, in this activity, they will be self-reflecting on how they, as individuals, prefer to work.

Have students navigate to the CareerPerfect work preference inventory. They can use the QR code on the slide or follow the link. This survey will give students two types of work on each line. They will choose which of those two they prefer. If they are struggling to choose, ask them to think about the last time they did a group or team project and what kinds of tasks they liked best.

When students are finished, instruct them to select the results button or simply scroll down the page to see their scores.

The four working styles are:

  • Focuser (Self-Starter)

  • Relater (Enthusiastic)

  • Integrator (Finisher)

  • Operator (Detailer)

Move to slide 12 and have students share their mix of styles with the class by using the Snap, Clap, Pop strategy:

  • "If you scored higher than a 6 in Focuser, act like you’re looking through binoculars."

  • "If you scored higher than a 6 in Relater, give an air high-five."

  • "If you scored higher than a 6 in Integrator, twiddle your fingers like an evil genius."

  • "If you scored higher than a 6 in Operator, act like you’re operating a space ship."

Using the following questions, facilitate a group discussion about the work styles suggested by the survey and what they mean for us both as a group and as individuals:

  • What do you notice about these four styles in terms of projects and/or processes?

  • What do you notice about the balance of these work styles in our club/group?

  • Is there a work style that we are missing?

  • Which style do you see yourself able to stretch into if it’s a need when working on a project? How would you personally work on making that stretch?

Explain that these preferences in how we work affect how we behave when given tasks, especially complicated ones. It’s important to be aware of how our actions are motivated by our preferences and how they shape our working style. All of the styles are valid and can be beneficial to one another if we make for them to all exist on a project.


Have students fill out the attached Values Chart handout for completing a collaborative project. Note that the goal section will be filled out later. Explain that the questions on the reflection sheet are meant to prompt thinking about what their values are. How they answer the question will give them insight into what their values are.

Optionally, this organizer could be used as a way for group members to set norms with one another before taking on a specific project.

After students have completed their charts, display slide 13. Line students up in numerical order based on their score for their dominant work style, then use the Fold The Line strategy so they are paired with someone of a different work style. Ask students to share their answers from the chart with at least three different partners by having them move down the line by random numbers to another partner.

Using the following questions, follow up with a discussion about “aha!” moments in listening to others’ values and approaches.

  • How do our values contribute to our working style?

  • How does diversity in working styles benefit collaborative projects?


Move to slide 14 and ask students to write a personal goal for how they can better work with different working styles and values in a group at the bottom of the Values Chart handout.

Using the Commit and Toss strategy, have students share out their goals. Have students tear off the goal section of their handout, crumple it up, and then toss it across the room. Then, each student will pick up a crumpled paper (not their own), open it, and read it to themselves. Ask for students to share out the goal they picked up.


Regardless of the focus of the extracurricular activity, club participation can lead to higher grades (Durlak et al., 2010; Fredricks & Eccles, 2006; Kronholz, 2012), and additional benefits are possible when these clubs explore specific curricular frameworks. Club participation allows students to acquire and practice skills beyond a purely academic focus, as it also affords them opportunities to develop skills such as self-regulation, collaboration, problem-solving, and critical thinking (Allen et al., 2019). When structured with a strong curricular focus, high school clubs can enable participants to build the critical social skills and "21st-century skills" that better position them for success in college and the workforce (Allen et al., 2019; Durlak et al., 2010; Hurd & Deutsch, 2017). Supportive relationships between teachers and students can be instrumental in developing a student's sense of belonging (Pendergast et al., 2018; Wallace et al., 2012) and these support systems help enable high-need, high-opportunity youth to establish social capital through emotional support, connection to valuable information resources, and mentorship in this club context (Solberg et al., 2021). Through a carefully designed curriculum that can be implemented within the traditional club structure, students stand to benefit significantly as they develop critical soft skills.