Leadership, Team Building & Applied Learning – The Arctic Explorers

Trying to come up with a fun activity (that has meaning) for the last 50 minutes of the year can be extremely challenging.  Some people put a movie on, some people just chat, but I think the end of the year should have a purpose and be full of meaningful activities.


As orientation week for VCAL came to an end, I wanted to make sure I had an activity that would be

1. Engaging

2. Meaningful and

3. Something we could reflect on

I was searching for Team Building Activities on the ‘net and I came across ‘The Arctic Explorer‘ (unfortunately I didn’t bookmark the website I got it from and can’t find it anymore) and thought it might be a good one for my students.


The basic premise is this –

  • Students are put in groups of 3-4
  • They elect a leader
  • The narrative of the story is that they are exploring the Arctic Circle and they are stuck in a massive snowstorm
  • Their leader has frostbite of their hands
  • The group members have snow blindness
  • They must build an emergency shelter using the materials provided.
  • The leader CAN NOT use their hands
  • The group members MUST be blindfolded

The materials I gave to each group were (See photos)

  1. 4 Paddle Pop Sticks
  2. 6 Match sticks
  3. 6 Rubber bands
  4. 2 Pipe Cleaners
  5. Brown paper bag
  6. Blindfolds


I then put these in an envelope and asked the students not to open the envelope until I told them.

Here is the link to the powerpoint slide I used to introduce the story and the reflection questions that I used at the end. With the reflection, I asked the students to complete individually, and then discuss as a group at the the end of the lesson.

Here’s a quick video of the students in action.

21st Century Skills: Leadership, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Teamwork



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