The basic learning points of this activity would include the importance of communication in teams, helping others develop by letting them make their own mistakes (and learning from them), and recognizing the importance of the contribution by each team member (vs taking over an activity/project and not allowing all team members to participate in important team activities).
This is a team activity which you can either use as an ice-breaker or an energizer between two other agenda items. It does not take much time to execute, but it does require some upfront preparation. The upside is, once you have made these squares and the puzzle pieces you can always re-use them in future with other groups and teams. (Remember to store the pieces in separate envelopes to keep the different puzzles from getting mixed up).
The instruction sheet (which you can download below) details how to make these squares, how to set up the activity and offers some debriefing questions to use afterwards. The activity does not take long to complete and does not typically create a lot of anger/frustration or resentment between people or teams leading to the need for longer debriefing and discussion sessions.
- If you have more time and would like to get more points across to the teams you could consider moving the puzzles to other tables for additional rounds. Each team then has a new puzzle to complete. This way the challenge is different to the teams for further activity rounds and the additional instruction or activity handicap you introduce could take them deeper into the experience of working together as a team. For example: you could lift the rule around “no talking” to see if the teams find the challenge easier or harder?
- You could also give them the same puzzle they had in the first round and let them practice to see how fast they can complete it (with or without talking as per your instruction). Then when each table/team feels that they have optimized their ability to complete the puzzle you can take one person from each table and have them join a new table. Each team would then have one new team member and no time to practice with the new team member. Then ask the tables to compete seeing who can complete the puzzle the fastest.