Instructions for the Teacher (this activity takes around 20 minutes to 30 minutes to complete)
Explain to the students that they will participate in a brainstorming session with time limits. They have 3 minutes to complete the first round of the activity. When instructed to begin, students will work individually and write as many countries as they can. After the 3 minutes are up, the teacher will ask students to share the number of countries that they recorded.

Next, announce that they will brainstorm again for another three minutes. This time, before they start, pair the students. Tell them they must go through both lists and create one list of unique names of countries. They should choose one of the two worksheets and continue adding to that one. After 3 minutes, stop the students and ask them to share their new totals.

Finally, group the students in teams of 4 or 6 (depending on the number in the class). Have them do the same as they did in pairs – choose one list and continue to add to it, first by the countries already recorded, and then thinking of new countries. Once again stop them after 3 minutes. Share results.

Discuss the following:
  1. How difficult was it to think of the countries on your own? (difficult working in isolation)
  2. How did working in pairs help you to think of more countries? (more brain power, someone to compare notes, fun comparing lists, sharing equally)
  3. How did having a deadline make you feel? (time limit is stressful, makes you feel rushed, frustrated when time was called – wanted to add more)
  4. What did you notice when you worked in a larger team? (more countries were added, even more brain power, sometimes harder to compare notes, someone takes lead)
  5. What were some of the things you learned about working in a team? Small team? Large team? (small teams can make it easier to divide work and share, larger teams produced more results, larger teams can argue more)
  6. How can you make sure you have recorded the correct information? (can Google question if technology was available)
  7. What strategies did you use to compare lists? (crossing out matches on one worksheet, adding new ones to the largest list)

Conclude the activity by restating some of the students’ observations. Emphasize the importance of working in teams, the strength of a team, and productivity of teams.

Alternate lists:
Presidents of the United States
Names that begin with a certain letter
Television shows
Makes/Model cars
State capitals