Giving Our Best Effort

We can be the most successful when we focus on giving our best effort, regardless of our role on a team.

Giving Our Best Effort
Grade Level: 6-12
Character Skills
  • Responsibility
SEL Skills
  • Self-Awareness
Academic Skills
  • Effective Problem-Solving


  • Do what you are supposed to do. Try your best.
  • Persevere. Keep on trying.
  • Be self-disciplined.
  • Think before you act. Consider the consequences.
  • Be accountable for your words, actions, and attitudes.\

Identify and understand emotions, values, attitudes, motivations, mindsets, and personal attributes.

Effective Problem-Solving

Employ critical and creative thinking skills to solve problems and make rational, ethical, and effective decisions that produce the best possible result.  


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This activity highlights the importance of giving our best effort when working with a team. Students will complete a group task in defined roles and then reflect on their experience.

  • A deck of cards for each group of 2-4 students
  1. Put students in groups of 2-4. Each group will need at least one builder and one supervisor.
    1. If you have more than two students in the group, allow the students to decide how many builders and supervisors they want within their group, as long as there is at least one of each.
  2. Give each group a deck of cards.
  3. Instruct the students that their task is to build the highest tower of cards they can. The team must start over each time the tower falls.
  4. Give a time limit.
  5. Now, give the students these important rules:
    1. Builders may touch the cards, but cannot talk.
    2. Supervisors may talk, but cannot touch the cards.
  6. At the end of the time limit, allow students to negotiate more time. For example, let students continue if they can negotiate a trade (if don’t use their dominant hand, don’t talk, etc., then they get one more minute to work).
  7. At the end of the second limit, see who has the tallest tower. Then, let them blow it down!
  • Ask students to discuss in small groups:
    • Were you as successful in building the tower as you thought you would be? Why or why not?
    • What would you have done better or differently?
    • If you were a builder, what was the most difficult part? If you were a supervisor, what was the most difficult part?
  • Ask students to discuss as a large group:
    • Do you think your job utilized your talents? Would you have wanted a different role (builder or supervisor) if you knew the task in advance? Why or why not?
    • What can this tell us about how we contribute to teams?
      • Do you always bring your personal best, even if you don’t like the job?
      • Would building the tower have been easier or more difficult if you didn’t have assigned roles?

Describe a time when you didn’t bring your best effort to a team. How did you feel when it was over? Would you do it differently if you could try again?

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