Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler and Loren Long is a dream of a book for a STEAM teacher. The book describes how houses, bridges, and even books are made by a team of people working together. We see the end products but seldom do we think of all the people involved in bringing those things into being. Teamwork is a key concept in a successful STEAM program and this book illustrates how that plays out in real-life situations.

Team building challenges are a great way to apply the lessons in this book. I usually divide the students into teams of 2 to 4 members and sometimes, particularly for older students, assign specific roles for each member.


Build a bridge that can hold the weight of a library book using toothpicks and gum drops or marshmallows. Only one team member may touch the gumdrops or marshmallows and only the other team member can touch the toothpicks. For upper elementary students, I may also require that a third person sketch a plan based on group conversation or document the process in steps in a notebook.

Make the tallest tower possible with a fixed number of KEVA planks. It must stand without anyone touching it. The group makes a plan that one member draws or writes down in words. Two members work together to build since sometimes it is necessary for one person to hold things steady as the other places the block. When the tower falls down, they revise and try again. you can also add a team member to write down the main ideas as they work to document their thinking process.

Teamwork is a valuable skill no matter where you are in life. Someone Builds the Dream is a great jumping off point on the road to future success/

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