The Four-Square Activity

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The Four Square Activity is a collaborative learning and brainstorming session.  Participants share ideas on predetermined topics in teams of four.  Here’s how it works: students are seated in groups of four with one sheet of paper that is folded lengthwise and width wise to create four areas.  (You could also provide them with a template, found here.)  Teams have a limited time per area, as determined and timed by the facilitator.

The paper begins with Person 1, who is tasked with writing one idea for the first section.  Let’s say, for example, that section is “Types of Fruit.”  Person 1 may write “apple” and then will pass along the sheet to Person 2, who is tasked with writing down another fruit that isn’t “apple.”  She adds “pomegranate” and then passes the sheet to Person 3, and so on around the circle as many times as possible before time is called.  The goal is to write down as many ideas as possible within the time limit.

Once the time is called, participants then start again with the next section, coming up with as many ideas as possible in the timeframe.  After the fourth section has been completed, ask participants to share in a class wide conversation how many ideas were generated and what was shared.  Students will enjoy the competition, and you’ll have the opportunity to add any ideas that may have been overlooked or adjust any ideas that may have been wrongly categorized.  Have fun!


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