Construction Time

This is a team building exercise that works well for an ESL classroom. It gets students to work together and negotiate.

In this task, students work in teams acitng as consturctuon companies.  Through a number of rounds, teams manage finances and build houses.  This is a cimpetition, and the team with the most money at the end wins.

This task takes about an hour and is best with around 8-12 students.  


  • Communicate in speaking
  • Use buisness vocabulary


  • 1 Hour
  • 1 deck of cards per team

Set Up

  • Split students into groups of 3-6
  • Give teams a bankroll of $100.
  • Write price list on board (Cards cost $2, Houses sell for $10)

Team Goals

To be the construction team with the most money at the end of the game

  • Teacher sets time frame for round 1 (e.g. 1.5 minutes)
  • Teams discuss how many cards they should purchase to build the houses.
  • Teams purchase cards from teacher.
  • teacher adjusts team bank accounts - $100 - $48 (24 cards X $2) = $52
  • Teams have provided time to build houses.
  • Teacher pays teams for each house built and adjusts bank accounts - $52 + $80 (8 Houses X $10)
  • Round 2 begins


teams are unable to return any unused material (This makes them negotiate and choose propoer number of cards)
Students are not allowed to touch the cards directly before or after the alloted time


The winning team has the most money.

Feedback and Reflection

Conversation Questions


the cards ar eonly one option for the actual construction.  Other possibilities include making paper boats, towers of blocks, or anything the students can create with minimal challenegs.

  • Making them pay for table space (ie factories)
  • Making them pay wages per each round. (Each team member might not decide to build)
  • Raising and lowering costs and prices

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