Time: 30 min
Audience: Any (teams)
Activity: Teams compete to assemble large billboards (puzzles). This activity can be used for many classroom applications, including teamwork, problem solving, etc…. A great activity for students who love puzzles!
Time Requirements: Varies depending on how big the puzzle is and how many people are in each group. The game can take about 30 minutes to complete the entire activity.
Items needed: A unique puzzle for each group. You can use homemade puzzles you have created from a piece of blank card stock. Cut the card stock into random small shapes to be put back together and place each puzzle in a baggie. You should limit the amount of pieces per puzzle to about 20.
Procedure: Divide your students into groups of 4-5. Give each group a billboard (puzzle). Tell them they need to re-assemble the billboard as quickly as possible for a display at a corporate event in Toronto. Do not give the teams time to think or plan, just say go and record the fastest time and times for all groups. Now, when all teams are done, you can give everyone time to think and plan, then take apart the puzzles, put them back in the baggies, and redistribute the puzzles to the groups (so that no one gets their original puzzle). Have them do it again and see if planning and problem solving before-hand reduced their billboard assembly time.
Variations: You can have members do this without talking.
You can have members approach the table one at a time to work on the puzzle (not talking to each other), moving one piece, then letting someone else approach the table to move another piece.
Function in Class: Teams are generally faster on the second attempt of this game. It demonstrates the value of planning, doing something more then once, the importance of a shared vision, and the need to cooperate.
Source: Jeff Short (The Business School)