Social Contracts & Cooperative Grouping with Middle Schoolers

Today we rolled out our Middle School application of Social Contract Theory. In a sense, during history fair, students who opt to collaborate with partners are giving up their absolute freedom (“my way”) to work with a group that can lighten the load, make a difficult project enjoyable, or bring talents together to produce a formidable product.

This document was designed with the help of some students and aims to have students create the expectations they have for each other. How will they hold each other accountable? What would they like to get from this collaboration?  In a perfect group, members use this document to remind themselves of the objectives and outcome they designed at the outset.

This document also serves as a nice test – if students cannot get this contract done, it’s a fair indictment of their ability to work together.