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Arranging Squares

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Why do this problem?

This task encourages the development of team working skills such as listening, asking questions, finding out what others think, reflecting and making sense of what has been said, and eventually coming to a consensus. If you wish to learn more about these skills and find other team-building tasks look at this article.

In addition learners are expected to use precision in describing an arrangement of objects.

Possible approach

The task is based on a team of four plus an observer.

You will need a collection of red, green, yellow and blue squares or the equivalent.

Explain the rules before any equipment is handed out as it is important that teams do not look at each other's cards or make notes to help them remember what has been said. This emphasises the idea that everyone has a part to play and reduces the chance of one person taking over the problem and leaving others with nothing to do.

It is good to have an observer in this task but, if this is not possible, the observer check list might make a good starting point for you to use for feedback.

The cards can be found here.

When teams have finished working on the task it is important to spend time asking them to discuss in groups, and then as a whole class, how well they worked as a team, what they have learned from the experience and what they would do differently next time. Your own observations, as well as those of observers, might inform the discussions.

Key questions

  • Has anyone got a card that they think has useful piece of information to start with? Can you expain why this is a useful card?
  • Have you used all the information you have been given?
  • How well did you listen to others in your group?
  • How easy was it to share what you knew?

Possible extension

Learners may like to try one of the other 'All for one' tasks. Other team-building tasks can be found by going to this article.

Possible support

Learners can reveal one (or more) of their cards at a time. Other team-building tasks can be found by going to this article.