Paper Chain Activity

Simple icebreaker activity adapted from TeamSTEPPS resources. Teams of 4-6 students compete to create the longest paper chain using provided materials (white, pink, yellow, and blue paper; single scissor; single roll of scotch tape) in 3 increasingly challenging 5-minute iterations of activity: (1) team collaborates to form single-color chain from white paper; (2) team forms paper chain following specified 2-color sequence, only team leader communicates verbally; (3) team forms more complex 4-color sequence without any verbal communication. Debriefing (~20 min) examines helpful and unhelpful team dynamics, team communication behaviors, and issues related to role designation. Instructor manual and informal assessment tool available from contributor by request; additional materials available from TeamSTEPPS. Multiple faculty facilitators recommended. Instructors can expect initial student skepticism and confusion to gradually give way to understanding and insight. (Beginners; CC, TT)

Delivery: In-person

References: TeamSTEPPS Fundamental Course Module 1. Introduction available at Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website.

Contributed by: Cheryl Scott (

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