Schoolyard Pick
New Aitu tribe absorb
The revised Aitutaki Tribe.
Survivor Gameplay
Description: The opportunity to choose a starting tribe or
A mechanic that creates new tribes from those already competing
Appearances: Starting Tribes:
Switched Tribes:
The Amazon
Cook Islands

A Schoolyard Pick is often used in Survivor for choosing tribes.


When a Schoolyard Pick is presented to the castaways, the opportunity to forge a stronger (or weaker) team is made. There is no one way to form new tribes, and several methods have been used.


  • In Survivor: Thailand, Jeff announced at the start of the game that local tradition dictates that the eldest are of the highest importance, so it was only fair if they chose the tribes. Jan Gentry and Jake Billingsley were the two oldest members, therefore they selected the two tribes.
  • On Day 13 of Survivor: The Amazon, Tree Mail requested the presence of the youngest member from Tambaqui and Jaburu to meet at an overnight summit. Jenna Morasca and Dave Johnson met and enjoyed a night of trading stories, strategies, and alliances. The next morning, Jeff announced that they would become tribe captains and choose new tribes.
  • During the opening days of Survivor: Palau, the two Immunity Necklace holders Ian Rosenberger and Jolanda Jones chose first as to who would join their tribe, with the person they selected choosing the next and so on until one man and one woman were left unpicked and eliminated from the game.
  • Survivor: Panama closely mirrored the format used in Palau, but the person left without a tribe was sent to Exile Island and would join the losing tribe after their Tribal Council. This person ended up being Bruce Kanegai.
  • Survivor: Cook Islands featured a Schoolyard Pick at the final 18. There were two sets of captains (2 men, 2 women). They would then select someone of a different ethnicity, who would then select someone else from a different ethnicity and so forth until each ethnic group was evenly represented on their tribe. The captains would all then break an egg at the same time to reveal who was on which of the two new tribes.
  • In Survivor: Micronesia the tribes were rearranged at the final 16. The remaining contestants were told to pick a colored rock to determined team captains, who would choose the next contestant from the previous opposing tribe.
  • At the start of the competition in Survivor: Gabon, the castaways introduced one another and in a similar fashion to Thailand, the two eldest castaways, Bob Crowley and Gillian Larson, were tasked to select the first members of their tribe, and then in the same style of Palau and Panama until no contestants were left to be picked.
  • Also in Survivor: Gabon, a Schoolyard Pick took place at the final 15. Matty Whitmore and Marcus Lehman were the captains for the new Fang and Kota tribes, respectively. Sugar Kiper was left unpicked and sent to Exile Island.