Team Building Activity: To Build a Tower, Version Two

Posted by Kristin Arnold on April 1, 2024

This team building activity is a great tool for demonstrating the value of teamwork. This exercise is ideal for groups of three to six people and requires 20 to 25 minutes. The materials you will need to have on hand are:

  • One box of straight straws (not flexible) for each group
  • Paper clips that fit snugly into the straws

Assemble the team members in a space large enough for the team to separate into smaller groups.

Begin by introducing the purpose of the exercise: to demonstrate the value of teamwork.

Explain the desired results of the exercise: to build a free-standing tower using only the materials provided in fifteen minutes.

The criteria for success are:

(1) the tower is free-standing (not attached to the floor, walls, etc.)

(2) the tower must be at least five feet tall

(3) the tower must be able to survive a moderate wind

For an added bit of fun, ask for the “measurers” – someone who knows what “free-standing” is; someone who is at least five feet tall, and someone who can blow a moderate wind! You will then use these folks to verify the success of each tower.

Ask if there are any questions and if they all understand the process – then let ’em go!

After fifteen minutes, ask the groups to gather all around the center of the room, bringing the towers!

Have each measurer check each tower. Typically, most of the towers succeed.

Debrief and Summarize

Debrief what worked and what the teams could have done better, and tie it into the team learning points.

  • What did you like most about this activity?
  • What made the team successful?
  • What process, if any, did you use to “design” the tower?
  • Who emerged as the group leader(s)? What characteristics did the leader(s) display?
  • Did everyone participate? If not, why not?
  • Describe the group dynamic.
  • How did individual team members help each other?
  • How did you make decisions?
  • What would you have done differently?
  • What did you learn from this activity?
  • How might you apply these lessons to our team’s work?


Change the criteria for success to include a competitive edge, (e.g., tallest, strongest, most creative, most functional, etc.).

If you like this activity, check out my book, Team Energizers, for 49 other team activities!

Related Articles:

Team Building Activity: To Build a Tower

Test Team Alignment with this Activity

43 Ways to Become a Valued Team Player

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.

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