May 28, 2009

Jigsaw Puzzle TeamWork Activity

Here's a team building activity I recently came across. Troop loved it and actually learned something. Works great for younger kids (any age as long as they can put together a puzzle). I used this team building as a precursor to bronze award planning to prove the point that we MUST work together.


Get several small puzzles from the $1 store. Best to use the ones that have about 25 pieces for ages 3-7 in which the puzzles are all cut from the same die (ie, all have the same shaped pieces).

Before hand the facilitator takes three pieces out of each puzzle and includes the same piece from a different puzzle so it would be possible to put the puzzle together, however the picture would not be correct. There are three pieces in each of puzzles I have that are cut like a cat, a pig, and a rabbit. These three pieces are the easiest to pull out and mix up. Make sure that each puzzle has at least one piece from the other puzzles.

You should have enough puzzles for the entire group to work in small groups of 3-6 people.

The facilitator announces "we will be working on a teamwork activity. Your challenge is to put together a puzzle". That's it. Don't say another word until it's over.

The "groups" will do several different things -
  • they may assume it is a race
  • Someone will eventually say they don't have the correct piece -do not respond
  • Some groups will figure out that the pieces are mixed and will go find the piece they need
  • some may try to "hide" their "extra" pieces
  • some will just sit there looking confused
After things settle down and puzzles are finished, the facilitator will ask what just occurred which should stimulate some good discussions. Ask:
  • Raise your hand if you tried to win -- explain why
  • Raise your hand if you hid other teams pieces -- explain why
  • Raise your hand if you tried to help others with their pieces -- explain why
The objective is to have everyone realize the original statement was "this is a team activity" at no time did the facilitator say each group was the whole team. Everyone on the team must work together or the team will not have all the pieces to complete their puzzle regardless of the activity the team is currently working on. We must all seek information/assistance from other team members AND give information/assistance to other team members.

Thanks to Elaine Royer | Link to original post

1 comments: said...

That's a great idea! I've known a few project managers who would REALLY benefit from an exercise like this.

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