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The Scavenger Hunt: A Team Building Exercise

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Student Learning Techniques & Practices in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1263.1 - 13.1263.8



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Paper Authors


Marilyn Dyrud Oregon Institute of Technology

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Marilyn A. Dyrud has taught in the Communication Department of Oregon Institute of Technology since 1983 and regularly teaches courses in technical and business writing, public speaking, rhetoric, and ethics. She is active in ASEE as her campus’s ETD section representative and compiler of the annual “Engineering Technology Education Bibliography.” A past chair of the Pacific Northwest section, she is a regular presenter at annual conferences and a member of the executive committee of the Engineering Ethics Division. She is also active in the Association for Business Communication and the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Scavenger Hunt: A Team Building Exercise


For US companies, team building is big business; in fact, in 2005, American companies spent over $20 billion on team-building activities.1 A quick sweep of the Internet reveals some 44 million websites devoted to companies that tailor-make exercises to suit particular companies. Whether it be Enron’s death-defying ATV rides across the Mojave Desert or a simple in-house game, companies are spending enormous amounts of money in attempts to build a certain esprit de corps among employees. Some exercises are active; some are passive. Some are physical; others are intellectual. Whatever the venue, the objective is to produce teams that exhibit synergy.

Most universities are not equipped with either materials or budget to allow instructors the luxury of taking their students surfing in Maui. However, there are a number of inexpensive, fun exercises that can promote congenial collaboration in classes that depend on positive, long-term group interactions.

This paper focuses on a team-building exercise used in a senior project class that requires students to be in the same groups for 30 weeks; it includes background information on business/industry practices, explains the exercise, and offers student reactions.

Current Business/Industry Practices

Teams, as defined by group dynamics experts Johnson and Johnson, are a group on individuals who exhibit these five characteristics:

• are aware of their positive interdependence as they strive to achieve mutual goals • interact while they do so • are aware of who is and is not a member of the team • have specific roles or functions to perform • have a limited lifespan of membership2

Dyrud, M. (2008, June), The Scavenger Hunt: A Team Building Exercise Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3165

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