Let’s Do It Together

(Edition: Change the world, workshop 3/4)

Main objectives:

Explore teamwork as one of the crucial skills to change the world for better

During the workshops participants will:




1 pack of marshmallow, 1 pack of spaghetti, thread, paper tape, post-its (or small pieces of paper), computer, projector, speakers

For the Marshmallow Challenge described below it is useful to have a table for every 4 participants.


1. Warm up (15 min)

Start with participants introducing themselves (if they don’t know each other yet). Then, ask each participant to take a post-it or a small piece of paper and write 3 things about themselves – 2 which are true and 1 which is false. Ask them to write in a readable way, so others can read it easily. Then, invite participants to put it on their chest (they can use a paper tape to do it) and go around reading other people’s papers. They should try to guess which of the information is false and have a small chat with the person who reveals if that one was indeed false or not. After a small chat and exchange of information they can look for another person, trying to read statements and have a small chat with as many people in the room as possible. If needed, you can help participants in writing statements (suggesting vocabulary or correct grammar structures). At the end, ask if there is anything they want to share with the whole group – something which surprised them or which they learned through this exercise.

2. Speaking and listening: Marshmallow Challenge (45 min)

Changing the world – theme of this edition – is not really possible alone, as we mentioned during the Changemaker Game. Today we will have a look at how we can achieve things together. 

Divide participants in groups of 4 people (for example by asking them to draw papers with different numbers or colors). Ask each newly formed team to sit around the tables prepared before – one team per table. On each table participants can find 1 marshmallow, 20 spaghetti, 1 meter of thread and 1 meter of paper tape. Their task is to build a tower, as high as possible, with the marshmallow on top. The marshmallow cannot be cut or eaten. When time finishes you will measure the height of the tower from the table till the marshmallow. Even if the tower is higher than that, you measure only till the marshmallow. Participants have exactly 18 minutes to fulfill the task (you can put the timer in a visible place, you can also use an online countdown and show it through a projector). When time is over, the participants have to leave the tower the way it is, they cannot touch it anymore. It has to be a self-standing tower (so they cannot attach it to the wall, chair, ceiling, etc.). Ask if participants have any questions. If not, start the challenge. You can put some energetic music in the background.

After 18 minutes measure the towers. 

Before the common discussion, leave a few minutes to the groups to discuss the whole process. How was it for them? Which strategies of building did they choose? How well did they work as a team?

After a few minutes of discussion in groups, invite each group to share their thoughts. Then ask participants more general questions:

Show to the participants a 6-minute video which describes how different groups deal with the Marshmallow Challenge

Discuss the video.

Auxiliary questions:

Summarizing this exercise you can go in many different directions. What we suggest is to focus on two points: teamwork and goal setting. Why is teamwork important, what does it bring to the project? And why is it important to set goals (symbolized by the marshmallow in this exercise).

3. Reading: Belbin team roles (15 min)

Print a short description of 9 team roles described by Belbin (Appendix 1) and hang them on the wall around the room. Invite participants to read each description and think which person in their Marshmallow Challenge group represented which role. Ask them also to underline any word they don’t understand. After participants finish reading, explain the underlined words and briefly discuss the idea of team roles – what participants think about it? Can it be useful in building teams?

Sticking the texts on the walls allows for a bit of movement and mixing up participants. However, you could also consider other options, like providing them to the participants to read individually or let them take photos and read from their phones. Remember to print them out with a font big enough to be readable and prepare alternatives (for example an audio version or assistance) if you expect visually impaired participants.

4. Writing, reading and speaking: feedbacks (30 min)

Provide participants with paper of different sizes and pens. Invite them to fulfill two tasks:

  1. Write a feedback for every person from their Marshmallow Challenge group, writing which role they believe the person was taking and what are the strengths of that person considering teamwork.

Ask participants to focus entirely on the strengths of each person.

  1. Write a feedback to yourself – which role did you play in the Marshmallow Challenge and which roles do you take in different life situations (at home, at work, etc)? Is it the role you would like to have? What are your own strengths when working in a team?

If needed, help participants with vocabulary and sentence structure, you can also provide dictionaries or allow participants to use online ones. Ask them to write in a readable way.

When participants finish, ask them to give papers with feedback to the person it was directed to. Give participants a few minutes to read the feedback from others and compare with their own thoughts about themselves. Then, ask each participant about their impressions and thoughts which come to them after reading the feedback from others. If the group is too big, you can decide to divide participants into small groups, to make sure that everybody has a chance to speak.

5. Summarizing (15 min)

Invite participants for the final round. Make sure that everybody will have a chance to speak about what they take from the workshop. The last exercise may be strong for some people and it is important to hear their voice. At the end, invite participants to fill the evaluation form.

After the workshop you can share with participants glossary (Appendix 2) and additional materials (Appendix 3). 

Do you want to prepare and conduct a sayBabel workshop on your own on this or other topics? Do you need to know more about how to do that? You can find all sayBabel rules on sayBabel or just contact us.