Abstract: Each team of students is given a box of puzzle pieces. Each puzzle has the majority of its own puzzle pieces but also has puzzle pieces from other puzzles. For a few of teams, the wrong puzzle box top is included so they have the wrong picture. One team may also have no box at all as the puzzle pieces are in a bag. Write on the board that the goal of the activity is to “Put the puzzles together as quickly as possible.” It typically takes 5-10 minutes before anyone realizes that there are extra or missing pieces. By 15 min one or two teams may get finished and you can just reiterate the goal. Depending on the group of students, the finished teams may or may not help the other teams finish. The activity ends when all teams finish.
Authors: Dr. Kelynne Reed
Time Required: 50 minutes
Behaviors Taught: Interpersonal Communication, Problem Solving, and Collaborative Work
Leadership Theories Used: Tuckman Team Formation Theory
Description of Integration:
Microbiology (Biol 230, 20 students, Dr. Kelynne Reed) – In this course, students work on a semester long laboratory project in teams of three students. This activity was used the first week of the semester to get students thinking about ideas such as competition vs collaboration, responding to obstacles when trying to complete a project, and thinking about how perception of a task can affect individual behaviors. Teaching Notes.
Cellular Physiology (Biol 248, 16 students, Dr. Lance Barton) – Because my semester focus was on commuication and improved teamwork in the lab, I spent an entire lab period on exercises design to encourage communication and teamwork as a class unit and to discourage a competitive environment. The instructions written on the board were “Completely assemble ths puzzles as quickly as you can.” I circulated, observed, and makes comments that can be interpreted as supporting a competitive environment. Debriefing students after the activity brought out the qualities of a successful team vs an unsuccessful team. Teaching Notes.
Date Submitted: June 2014
Date Modified: None
Copyright and Permission to Use: Michelle Martin originally described this activity on The Bamboo Project blog . This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. The STAR program is sharing this activity with minor modifications under the same license as required by the original author.