Not Enough Time?

Over on the "Common Cold" challenge, Start Up says:

I am wondering if the time for this activity is realistic. It seems awfully short.

I replied in the comments, but it seemed like a good point to bring up here, too.

The purpose of giving teams a really tight time frame in which to work is to encourage them to work creatively and cooperatively. With such a short time, they MUST be efficient in their communication in order to move from idea to finished product in only a few minutes. This can be done – I’ve watched some pretty impressive solutions come out of only four minutes worth of planning.

Now, that said, in Team Challenges, I point out that every team will differ and that the times are entirely flexible (for that matter, so are the materials!). Teachers and team leaders know what their team is capable of. A team new to this type of challenge might be better off with eight minutes in which to work, and even so, may still feel rushed. But, as they practice with a variety of these types of activities, their ability to effectively come up with a fast solution will improve. This improvement is what I love to see when I work with kids!

Remember; we're not looking for perfection in the solution! This is most definitely a process vs. product situation. A funny skit or a strong bridge is always great to see at the end of the allotted time, but more important is the work that goes into developing a plan. I've had teams who got to the end of the allotted time with nothing to show for it but frustration, certainly. In cases like this, I try to point out what went right, and give them the chance to try another challenge in the not too distant future.

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