To The Moon!

In a previous post, I mentioned that I demonstrated the value of cooperative learning with a class activity. I like to tell the students that we are taking a trip to the moon, but in reality it’s a team building exercise.

More specifically, the “Lost on the Moon” exercise illustrates the decision making process while highlighting the differences between individual and group decision making. It also allows the participants to practice leadership skills and conflict resolution.

The premise is based on a fictitious survival scenario that requires individuals to rank the importance of various items available. They are then tasked with determining a ranking by consensus within their group. The rankings are compared with NASA expert rankings and then scored. Upon scoring, a full class discussion ensues.

Here are some discussion topics for consideration: (Per Bang, May 2001)

Look at the scores.

  • Who got the highest and lowest scores? Is it possible to explain why?
  • Is there a difference in the scores when making the decision by yourself versus with the group? If yes, what does this difference imply?

Trace the decision making process.

  • How did the group find a common answer?
  • Was the process rational?
  • Did anyone control the process?
  • Was it the same person(s) all the time?

Discuss issues that may have surfaced.

  • Leadership
  • Power
  • Motivation
  • Communication
  • Personalities
  • Perception

Find concluding points that emphasizes the nature of effective and rational decision making, group structure, and group productivity.

This is a fun learning activity that not only encourages teamwork, but becomes an icebreaker that students talk about long after its over. There are quite a few versions available on the internet, including an interactive option, but I prefer this basic one. Lost on the Moon Exercise

Safe travels everyone!

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