Human Machine

Goal: To build collaboration and team work skills.

Human Machine
  • task
  • Game

Human Machine

Contributed by Yael Ben-Zion


To build collaboration and team work skills.


  • Before the game, write the names of machines on index cards (ex: Coffee maker, TV, alarm clock, microwave, computer)
  • Explain that the objective of the game is to work as a group to create a machine by using only their bodies. Every student on the team must be included and students can not use any additional materials or props.
  • Divide students into groups of three to six.
  • Give groups time (about 5 minutes) to create their machines.
  • Ask each group to present their machine to the whole class. 
  • After a group has presented, have the other students raise their hands if they think they can identify the machine.
  • The game ends when every group has had a chance to present their machine.
  • Reflection: What happened during the game? How did your group work together? If your group were to do the game again, what would you do differently? What collaboration skills did we use during this game? How can we use these skills outside of the game?

Transition into Activity

Ask students to brainstorm the machines they’ve used already today.

Transition out of Activity

Invite students to move back to their desks like one of the machines they saw their classmates create.

Classroom Arrangement

Space for students to work in groups of 3-6
Space to present group machines to the class (ex: front of classroom)

Supports/Adaptive Materials/Tools

  • Index cards/paper, to write names of machines for each group. Students who need to scaffold more can write down or draw each step as the group works together before movement is added.
  • Images of the machines can be included on the index cards
  • Students can also participate by contributing a sound effect or helping direct from the outside
  • The group’s machine can be built around any students who need to remain seated or stationary

Role of the Teachers and Paraprofessionals

  • Can participate in the machine with a group
  • Can increase participation of all group members by supporting group brainstorm and suggesting modifications if necessary
  • Can create a machine one-on-one with a student if necessary

Remote Adaptation

In break out rooms, students can create a visual and/or written representation of their “machine” in a shared Slide. They can also create a series of gestures that represents the machine, then the whole group shares the sequence in unison. 

Art forms



15-20 mins