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Tower Building
By Joe Bouchard
Published: 09/14/2015


The following is an installment in "The Bouchard 101", a series featuring "Ice Breaker's" designed to promote training awareness and capabilities in the corrections industry.

I am not sure of the origin of this exercise, but it is an effective team building endeavor. All you will need is a roll of tape and twelve sheets of typing paper for each team. Divide the class into teams of no fewer than three per team.

Options: Team captains can be selected and they in turn can select their teams. However, the facilitator, once the teams are in place, can move the captains to another team to mix things up a bit.

When each team is assembled, distribute the materials and give guidelines.
  • Each tower has to be at least six feet tall.
  • It can only be made of the paper that was handed out and tape.
  • Each team does not have to use all 12 pages, bonus points can be assigned to the team who uses fewer pieces of paper.
  • You must have at least a five-minute designing period.
  • The design can be as any team wishes except for the following – you must have a base at least eight inches tall; the base has to be free standing on the floor and cannot be taped to the floor or any other surface; the tower cannot be on a table and counted as six feet tall from the ground – the tower will be measured from base to tip.
  • The first tower that remains standing long enough to be measured wins.
Questions - Tower Building
  • What sorts of dynamics were there?
  • Did anyone take the lead in designing?
  • Were there disagreements?
  • Did the notion of building a tower with less material get in the way of a sturdy tower?
  • Was there spying?
  • Was there any jeering or demoralizing comments between teams?
  • Did individual talents come to the fore?

Joe Bouchard is a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections and a collaborator with The International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP). He is also the author of “IACTP’s Corrections Icebreakers: The Bouchard 101, 2014”. The installments in this series include his opinions. The agency for which he works is not in any way responsible for the content or accuracy of this material, and the views are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of the agency. While some material is influenced by other works, all of the icebreakers have been developed by Joe Bouchard.

Visit the Joe Bouchard page

Other articles by Bouchard:


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