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Team Problem-Solving Fun



  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies


  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12


Brief Description

Students work in groups to solve a variety of puzzling activities.



  • work cooperatively to solve a variety of problems.


puzzle, team, cooperative, end of year

Materials Needed

  • puzzles (provided below)

Lesson Plan

Arrange students into teams. (Decide -- based on the "puzzles" used and other considerations -- whether those teams should comprise two, three, or four students.) Then introduce the puzzles. Teams might compete to see which team solves the puzzle first, or teams might work to solve different puzzles.

Puzzle Ideas
Following are some puzzle resources that can be used for this classroom activity:

Operation Math
This series of 36 puzzles from Education World will work with students in grades 4 and up. You might write each puzzle group on a large chart. Display the puzzle group, then give teams 3 minutes to solve the puzzles. Students will work to figure out which math operations must be done (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division) to make the puzzle work. One person in each group should serve as the "recorder" and write the team's final answer for each puzzle. At the end of 3 minutes, flip the chart paper to reveal the next puzzle group. Do this for about five puzzle groups, then take time to check the teams' answers. The team with the most correct answers is the winning team. Then do the next set of five puzzle groups

Scrabble Spell-Off
Provide students with seven Scrabble letters. Set a time limit (5 minutes, for example) and see how many words team members can spell -- using only those letters. When it comes to scoring this activity, you can count words, or you might have students assign the Scrabble point values to letters; that way, the team that comes up with more complex words is most likely to win.

Have teams work to unscramble each group of anagrams and then come up with the characteristic that each group has in common. The first team to solve each puzzle is declared the winner. Which team will win the most rounds?

Geography A to Z
Provide students with the Geography A to Z puzzles for the letter A. Have students use available resources -- books, almanacs, encyclopedia, atlases -- to figure out the seven places that begin with the letter A. The first team to complete the activity raises their hands. If they get all the answers correct, they win the round and seven points. If they have any wrong answers, announce that the team had, for example, six answers right out of seven. Another team can "steal" the win by giving all seven correct answers. If a team wins the round on a "steal," they earn 10 points instead of seven. When time is up, add up teams' scores to determine the Geography A to Z winner.

More Puzzle Ideas
Find more puzzle ideas in these Education World resources:


Assess students/teams based on the number of correct answers.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins