Dragon Boat Teamwork Action Card

Dragon Boat Teamwork Action Card lesson plan

Dragon Boat Festival teams must row together to move their elaborate boat at top speed. This traditional Chinese competition is an ideal springboard for a teamwork lesson any time of the year.

  • 1.

    Racing a heavy wooden dragon boat, which can be from 40 to 100 feet (12 to 30 m) in length, takes more than brute strength! Typical boats have 20 rowers and larger ones can have as many as 80 rowers. How do teams keep everyone stroking together fast enough to win? Drums and gongs are used to set the rhythm. Here is one way to make a replica dragon boat with oars that move in unison.

  • 2.

    Fold sturdy paper in half like a greeting card. Lay it horizontally. With Crayola Scissors, cut a slot across the front about one-third of the way down from the fold. Cut the slot wide enough for several paper oars to slide through it and move freely.

  • 3.

    Draw your dragon boat in the area of the card from the slot down using Crayola Pip-Squeaks™ Markers. The colors of the Five Elements are frequently used to decorate dragon boats: red, black, white, azure, and yellow. You could use your school or team colors if you like. Along the top, write a saying to cheer your rowing team to victory.

  • 4.

    Cut a narrow strip from a recycled file folder the length of the card. Cut four or more oars from the file folder. Decorate each oar. Add Chinese characters or other symbols that are significant to your team.

  • 5.

    Punch evenly spaced holes for the oars along the file folder strip. Attach each oar to the strip using brass paper fasteners. Align the oars so they are parallel. Tape a string across the top of the oars. Make sure the string sticks out from both ends. (W

  • 6.

    Open the fold and place the oar strip along it. Slide the oars through the slot to the outside of the boat. Pull on the string ends to make sure the oars move together. Adjust as needed. Attach the oar strip inside the card with Crayola School Glue. Glue


  • Students gather information about the Dragon Boats teams and races.
  • Students discuss what makes a winning combination for rowing teams and apply conclusions to their lives.
  • Students problem solve fabrication of an animated dragon boat replica.


  • China’s earliest poet, Qu Yuan is honored during every Dragon Boat Festival. Find out why and read some of his poetry. Eating Zongzi (rice dumplings) is also associated with Qu Yuan. Visit an Asian food market to try this traditional food.
  • Explore the symbology associated with Dragon Boat Festivals, such as the Five Elements and the Five Poisons. Find out where and when these festivals are held. Mark them on a world map.
  • If possible, watch live or filmed dragon boat races. Listen for the sound of the drum or gong that keeps rowers in unison. What else do you hear, smell, and see?
  • Assessment: Students follow directions to make a working model of a dragon boat. They can describe the techniques rowing teams use to keep them rowing in unison.