Collaboration – Building bridges with roles

In this variation of 'Building Bridges', the children gets the opportunity to take different expert roles that decide who builds what on the bridge.
The task

Together, we build a bridge crossing a canyon with the help of some expert roles that we switch between us during the activity. The aim of this activity is to create good play condition with room for negotiation.

Collaboration – Building Bridges We create a motivating framework for the children. 



Suggestion for introduction

We create a motivating framework for the children. 

For example, we can say: ”We practice building together. Maybe we learn something new together today, like how we divide the building task between us. Today we are building a bridge that crosses a canyon or some other obstacle. We build the bridge from expert roles. One builds the legs of the bridge, one builds the road of the bridge, and the last one builds the sides of the brides. We switch roles along the way but we only build what our role tells us.”


The activity can be adapted to the framework of one lesson and varied according to the time available and the children’s prerequisites.


We need some building materials that are well-suited for building bridges. We choose one kind of material that the children like or a mix of e.g. Lego, Kapla, Bakoba etc.

During the activity

During the play session, the children encounter challenges and successes, where we can stop and help spot what is difficult or what is going well. We can do this in several ways:

Reflection routines 

When we get the opportunity to reflect together with the children on what challenges or discoveries arise along the way, we can use one or more reflection routines. It could be, for example, a learning metaphor with a social strategy that we practice, an emoji that describes the feeling we have right now, or a rating of how well we think the building is going. In this way, a reflection routine can help to show and put into words the experiences that the children have during the play session.

Facilitating questions

We can ask facilitating questions to the children along the way, as they naturally arise in the building process. In this way, we facilitate the play session so that we continue the play and at the same time learn something from it. For example: 

  • I see that you have stopped building. I wonder how we can continue from here? 
  • I see that you have encountered a challenge. Should we try to solve it together? 
  • Try to notice what you are doing right now. Do you think this is a collaborative strategy? 
Show and Tell

Finally, in the play session, we give a Show and Tell of our construction, so that we have the opportunity to share our experiences, reflections, and feelings about the construction process.

First, we talk about our model and the process of building it. During the Show and Tell, we can use reflection routines and reflective questions to support the discoveries that have been made. For example:

  • What went well? 
  • What was difficult?
  • Is there anything that you want to do differently the next time we build bridges?
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