Puzzle It

Our author Chris Cavert offers a great activity for this week’s Friday Lesson that he calls “Puzzle It”.


You’ll need a twelve (or so) piece puzzle for each group of 10 to 12 players – look for the children’s puzzles with the bigger pieces. (I also found a large piece foam-based puzzle with 24 pieces that works for the intermediate groups – less information to exchange.) So, depending on the size of your puzzle you will need a player for each piece (two pieces per player is the maximum).


20 to 30 minutes


The objective for each group (multiple groups can play if you have multiple puzzles) is to be in a position to put their puzzle together correctly. Each player receives a piece of the puzzle (if there are less players than pieces some players can receive two pieces – but no more). As a group, players can verbally exchange descriptions of their puzzle pieces but may never show their puzzle piece to another player. If someone has two puzzle pieces she or he is allowed to give away a piece but cannot receive one – players with only one piece cannot give it away. (In other words, ideally, some players will end up with two pieces that fit together before the solution is revealed – that is if some players started out with two pieces.)

So, again, the activity objective is for the group members to position themselves in puzzle order before showing their pieces to anyone else in the group. As the facilitator your job might be to “make sure” (through suggestive questioning) the group is “sure” they are ready to turn up their pieces so they can put the puzzle together.

This variation tends to be less demanding and takes less time than ZOOM because there is less information to share about each piece. And most people are familiar with a picture puzzle – start with something they know before moving on to what they don’t.

•    What stands out to you about the activity?
•    Describe your role in the activity?
•    In what ways did you help others during the activity?
•    What did you find difficult about the activity? Did you get frustrated with yourself or others? How did you handle your frustration?
•    What would have made the activity easier?
•    How did you handle the “multiple piece” issue? Did anyone share some solutions about the issue? Did anyone ask for any solutions to the issue?
•    Was your group successful? Does the “end” of a task determine success or does success show up in other places? What is success?
•    What was fun for you during the activity? Why is fun important?

•    The more puzzle pieces the more challenge.
•    If you can have a picture of the puzzle put together you can provide an opportunity for one or two players to see the “big picture.” This can add some leadership dynamics to the task – how is the big picture communicated to the group? How does this help?

Look for Chris Cavert’s Upcoming book More Affordable Portables!

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