Create a Group Project Contract

Bethany Radcliff

How Can This Help?

You already know the challenges that group projects pose--no matter what you do, students tend to struggle with staying organized, distributing the workload fairly, and keeping each other accountable for their tasks. With this activity, you are asking your students to create a simple contract within their group, which empowers them to make their own rules up front. Your students will begin to see the value of working together, along with the importance of group communication and decision-making. This allows students to set the tone for their own work, all while setting expectations for each other.

What You'll Need:

Key Skills:

Setting goals; verbal communication; working as a team.

The Procedure:

1. Read and Prepare. Instruct students to read the article "How Can I Rock a Group Project?" from the Life Skills Made Easy section of the November-December 2016 issue of Choices. Pass out the Group Project Contract  to each group.

2. Brainstorm. Have students think about possible rules for their group project within their teams. Explain to students the importance of having rules within a group, and how rules will help them stay on task and communicate effectively. Optional: You can use our Discussion Guide worksheet here, or simply write these questions on your blackboard or whiteboard to guide the conversation:

  • What characteristics does an effective group need to function properly? (Possible answers: clear goals, good communication, active participation by all members, etc.)
  • What behaviors frustrate you the most when you're working on a group project? (Possible answers: irresponsibility, missing deadlines, not participating in discussions, only contributing criticisms, etc.)
  • How will you ensure that people will hold up their end of the contract? (Possible answer: put one person in charge of keeping people on task)

Move from group to group. If students need help, refer to these examples for ideas:

  • We all promise to listen to group members' ideas respectfully.
  • We all promise to give thoughtful feedback to each other.
  • We all promise to sit together as a group.
  • We all promise to be positive.
  • We all promise to contribute to the group's discussion.
  • We all promise to talk one at a time, and not while another group member is speaking.
  • We all promise to contribute equally to this team project.
  • We all promise to ask our teacher for help if we get stuck.
  • We all promise to meet when we are supposed to.
  • We all promise to follow the instructions of the project.
  • We all promise not to exclude a group member.
  • We all promise to report to our teacher if a rule is broken, or if something is not going well in the project.
  • We all promise to turn our work in on time.

3. Collaborate, Decide, Sign. Have students fill out their chosen rules with their group on the Group Project Contract Worksheet. Encourage students to have fun collaborating, deciding on their rules, and coming up with a group name. Make sure all students have signed the contract and understand the repercussions of breaking a contract rule!

Bonus Steps!

  • Plan It Out. After group rules have been decided on and the students have had time to understand the assignment, pass out the Group Project Planner worksheet and instruct students to begin filling out tasks according to the steps in the How Can I Rock a Group Project? story. (The color coded section at the bottom of the sheet allows the students to easily reference which member is responsible for each task!)

  • Get to Work. Now it's time to start the project. Students should feel more prepared and comfortable having filled out their Group Project Planner worksheets. Pass out copies of Group Project Tips to each group to help them come up with ideas to facilitate communication and complete tasks during their group project.

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