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Square Off

Getting It Together: Using your team strengths in this specialized learning activity

Download Game

Learning Objectives

As a result of participating in this activity, learners will:

  1. Assemble a specified shape using plastic puzzle pieces.
  2. Combine team members’ knowledge to accomplish a task.
  3. Organize their collective efforts to assure that all team members complete a given task within a specific time frame.

Description

  1. Assemble students into teams of 5-6 using some method to ensure diversity/interprofessionalism on each team. Each team is to complete two tasks in sequence to complete this activity.
  2. The team is seated around a table that provides relatively the same access to the center for all team members. Randomly piled in the center of the table are the pieces to multiple tangrams in a variety of colors (the number to be determined by the number of players on the team.) Provide enough pieces so that each person can complete the puzzle in one solid color. Add approximately 25% more random pieces into the pile and mix thoroughly. This game is played in silence, so team members may not speak.
  3. The first task of the team is to have each team member complete a square in front of them using exactly seven pieces (two large triangles, two small triangles, one medium triangle, one square, and one non-square parallelogram) from the pile. Once team members are done, they are to raise their hands until all team members have completed the task.
  4. Once all team members have completed a square, add the directive that puzzles must be solved such that each separate square is composed of pieces of a uniform color. Players may exchange or share pieces or may draw from the center pile but again may not speak. Allow only forty-five seconds to complete the second part of the task.

Recommendations

Tangram puzzles can be inexpensively acquired in bulk through national retailers.  We have had excellent success with puzzles made from plastic, which we have found to be durable.

Size

Small Group

Equipment

Minimal Equipment - Plastic tangram puzzle pieces

Time

One Hour

Modifications


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Lesson

Team Membership

Sometimes resources on a team are tangible, such as having enough pieces for everyone to complete the puzzle. Other times, the resources are embedded in the skills of the members, who can provide additional assistance when a team member struggles or falters.

Debrief Questions

  1. What went well?
  2. How did you and your team use all of the resources available to them in this task? Did that include the skills or expertise of people around the table.
  3. With the inability to speak as a barrier, how did team members communicate that they needed extra help, specific pieces, etc. How did you overcome this challenge?

Clinical Application

In team-based healthcare, we must quickly assess the resources needed and available to treat a patient.

  1. Give examples of the kinds of resources that might be needed in a trauma bay during a crisis. Include both tangible and intangible ones.
  2. How can healthcare teams overcome resources shortages, including in the absence of certain professions or team members?

Bloom's Taxonomy

Analyze/Apply
Evaluate/Create

TeamSTEPPS domain

Communication
Leadership

IPEC Competency

VE 4
RR 1
CC 1, 4, 5 & 7
TT 5 & 11


Lesson

Leadership

In this task, even though the team accomplished the first phase, a second set of requirements required they re-engage. In some instances, it may occur that two people are seeking out the same color and shape at the same time, and a team member must determine who will receive it.

Debrief Questions

  1. How is the distribution of resources determined on a team, particularly in light of the concept of situational leadership?
  2. Considering the concept of leadership, how would you describe the leadership you experienced on this team? Was the structure of the team hierarchical in this instance?
  3. How would you predict outcomes resulting from two different styles of leadership (such as hierarchy versus heterarchy or holacracy?)

Clinical Application

  1. Confronted with the multiple needs of patients presenting with similar acuity at the same time, how do we make determinations about the deployment of resources?
  2. What reactions would you anticipate from the patient who does not receive resources, given the immediacy of their experience of pain, distress, anxiety, etc.
  3. How does provider fatigue, stress, etc. affect their relationships with needy patients?

Bloom's Taxonomy

Analyze/Apply
Evaluate/Create

TeamSTEPPS domain

Communication
Leadership
Mutual Support

IPEC Competency

VE 4, 7 & 8
RR 2, 5 & 6
CC 1, 4-7
TT 8, 9 & 11


Lesson

Situation Monitoring

In this exercise, teams only succeeded by assuring that all team members had the needed resources at the appropriate time. For the team to complete the project(s), team members may have been enrolled to silently assist other team members, which requires situation monitoring and anticipation skills.

Debrief Questions

  1. Effective team members may need to choose to meet their own needs or those of others, depending on the progress the team is making overall. By what measure do you personally determine when and if you are going to help others?
  2. Is #1 something that can be taught? Can it reasonably be an expectation of team members?
  3. How would you compensate for team member who is in need but is not getting appropriate support from others?

Clinical Application

When healthcare teams fail to operate optimally, they expose their patients to additional and unnecessary potential harm.

  1. What is the role of the healthcare team member to monitor others (including in different professions) as they work?
  2. How does (if at all) the consequence of patient harm influence your willingness to speak up to other team members who are not functioning with the interest of the patient or team outcomes first?

Bloom's Taxonomy

Analyze/Apply
Evaluate/Create

TeamSTEPPS domain

Communication
Situation Monitoring

IPEC Competency

VE 7
RR 2 & 3
CC 1, 4-7
TT 5, 7, 8 & 11

Summary

Simple tasks for some are more complex for others. In this game for serious learning, team members are all tasked to complete the same puzzle. In the second half, however, they must collaborate to finish as a team within a short time limit!

Contact

For more information about how to utilize games, low-fidelity simulation, and interactive learning to teach concepts of teamwork and collaboration, contact Better.Teams@rosalindfranklin.edu

Related Tags

choice, collaboration, common goal, conflict, inexpensive, low barrier, low resource, mutual support, outcomes, puzzles, situation monitoring, tangram, team membership, teams and teamwork, urgency