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Lessons 2: Why Work as a Team?

Many employers now stress the importance of their workers being able to complete tasks as a team. While individual abilities are still required, today’s employees must be willing and have the skills needed to be a part of a team. Why do you think businesses are emphasizing the team approach?

Doing the science

  1. Start the Survivor Simulation by clicking on the "Sim" tab.
  2. Review the on-screen background information and instructions.
  3. Click on the paper at the right-bottom of the screen to begin ordering the survival items.
  4. Click and drag an item up or down to change its position in the order. Remember that items placed near the top of the list are considered to be the most important, while items placed near the bottom of the list are least important.
  5. When you are satisfied with the order of your list, click the "Done" button.
  6. Record your score in Table 1 in the "Individual Ordering" section. Have your teacher post all of the individual scores on the board and record this data in Table 1.
  7. Click on the "Sim" button in the top menu bar to restart the simulation.
  8. Get together with your classmates in groups of four or five students.
  9. Once in your group, discuss the ordering of the survival item list. Make sure that all group members voice their ideas and opinions.
  10. As a group, come to a consensus on the best ordering of the survival items. Have one person in the group adjust the order of the items on the list in the simulation.
  11. Once your group’s ordering has been completed, click on the "Done" button.
  12. Record your group’s ordering score in Table 1 in the "Group Ordering" section.
  13. Have your teacher post all of the "Group Ordering" scores on the board and record this data in Table 1.
  14. Calculate and record the average of the "Individual Ordering" and "Group Ordering" scores in Table 1.

Table 1.


Individual Ordering Score


Group Ordering Score



Do You Understand?

  1. Was the average ordering score better for the individuals or when they received help from their team? Discuss a reason for the difference in the individual and group average ranking scores.

  2. What do your results indicate about most businesses moving towards a team approach to their workforce?

  3. Some educators say that using cooperative learning or a team approach in the classroom is really a license for students to cheat. How would you respond to a person who believes that using teams in the classroom for learning is cheating?