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Cooperative Strategies

The following are three lesson plans from the book:


Heaping Pennies


Modified by Andi Stix

This experiment portrays the idea that group cohesion is stronger than the individual members who form the group.







Liquid Soap

Paper Napkins




    1. Have each student place a penny on top of a paper napkin.
    2. Using the eyedropper, count the amount of drops of water it takes to create a dome on top of the penny.
    3. Take the toothpick and dip it into the liquid soap. Prick the dome of water with the toothpick. The liquid soap breaks the surface tension of the water.
    4. Students will have the opportunity to count how many drops it will take to break the dome.


Explanation: The cohesion of molecules pulls the top of the water as if it were skin. H20 is a polar molecule, attracting other molecules like itself. In other words, the oxygen from the second molecule is attracted to the hydrogens from the first molecule. The hydrogens have a positive charge whereas the oxygen has a negative charge.


An alternate experiment consists of taking a glass of water and shaking pepper on it. Once again, take the toothpick dipped in liquid soap and prick the surface of the water. Notice how the pepper repels the area.


Interdisciplinary Connection: The Underground Railroad, The Assembly Line
Myth: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table,The Beatles (stronger together than apart as solo artists)




By Andi Stix

Sentence Strips is a powerful tool to make a seemingly boring topic more exciting. This system can be used in language arts, history, math, science, or even psychology!

Often students have to become acquainted with information that is sequential. In history, it could be determining the succession of the different battles of the Civil War. In math, it could be determining the sequence of an algebraic proof. In science, it could be determining the evolution of crustaceans. In psychology, it could be determining the order of Carl Erikson’s Eight Stages of Man. With Sentence Strips, the instructor eliminates the tedious lecture format and encourages students to draw their own conclusions.




    1. Choose the topic that the students will cover. In language arts, students might want to pick a favorite introductory paragraph they have written. Be sure that there are at least 5 to 10 sentences for the students to manipulate. Type each sentence separately. Skip a few lines between each sentence. If you are teaching about Erikson’s stages, type each stage with a description next to it.
    2. Make photocopies of the list onto different colored paper; one color for each cooperative learning group.
    3. Cut out each section. Recut each edge so that students will be unable to place them together by the way the paper has been cut.





    1. In cooperative learning groups, have the students figure out the proper order of the strips. If you are teaching sequential order in language arts, you might have pairs within each group exchange story strips.





    1. Have the whole group discuss the different stages. Roll a dice to determine which group will speak. Ask the group to state the first stage. Discuss it and ask how many groups agree. Let them know the answer. Roll the dice again to determine the next group and to keep the students motivated.
    2. Ask the students to list their findings as the group determines each stage. A personal copy of the information will further reinforce what they have learned.


Imagery Walk


Modified by Andi Stix


This exercise helps students generate ideas and embellish their ability to use details and images.



  1. Tell students that they will take a voyage. Ask them to get comfortable in their seats and to close their eyes. If it is a carpeted area with ample room, ask the students to lie down.
  2. The first section allows the students to relax. “Pretend that you are looking down from the top of a staircase. You step down onto the first red step. Feel the red rush through you. You feel excited. Now step down onto the orange step. Assume orange symbolizes harmony. Feel that color.” Continue with this exercise. Describe each color. Here are some examples, but feel free to create your own descriptors:

    Red = Excitement
    Orange = Harmony
    Yellow = Happiness
    Green = Health
    Blue = Love
    Purple = Power
    Violet = Creativity
  3. In a soothing and even voice, tell the students to step onto a cloud that will carry them off to a distant place. Give students time (between 20 – 30 seconds) after each description. You may allow them to land in a place of their own choosing, or pick an interesting and exotic location for them (i.e.- Morocco). You might prefer to give them a category such as a planet, an inventor’s house, or the aorta artery as the point of destination.
  4. Give the students descriptive statements that begin with words which are categorized by the senses. “Look around you and notice the details.” “Smell the air and notice how it is different.” “Touch the doorknob as you peer through the window.” Help students establish the setting. You may want to continue the dialogue to help students imagine that they are going on a voyage through the heart. Or you may choose to tell them to continue without you before you will call them back. Whichever way you decide to run the activity, be sure to project your voice in a warm, soothing flow.
  5. After ten minutes, bring the students back. Warn them kindly, “We will be leaving in a minute.” Then have them climb back onto the cloud to the foot of the staircase. Without using descriptors, slowly walk them up the staircase until you reach the top . Prepare the students by telling them that when you say, “Now,” they will open their eyes to the count of three. Then count them through the end of the voyage.
  6. It is a good idea to first discuss the children’s experiences.
  7. Afterwards, teachers can use a variety of follow-up activities: poetry, art, dissection, music, expository writing, etc.