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The idea is to show students they must work with each other to find the answers as I must work with others as well.  This is an activity on collaboration.  I split the class into three or four groups and give them each a simple puzzle to put together.  What they soon find out is they do not have all of the pieces and they have to work with the other groups to find the missing pieces of the puzzle.  Of course I would have to give them an incentive and tell them the first group done gets a prize.  This activity is a great lead into how everyone must work together to finish a task or project.  When the activity is done I ask what has happened here.  They usually reply with there were pieces missing.  Then I go into my speech as to I donít have all the pieces all of the time and we have to work together to find them.  Programming covers a huge area and I am always learning and gathering pieces from a number of sources.  This falls under the NBPTS core number five; accomplished teachers are members of learning communities.  The computer industry is a life long learning experience!  The learning never stops.  I must always be looking for new pieces of the puzzle.

Collaboration Exercise

Resources needed:

Four puzzles put into Ziploc bags.

Pens for prizes


bulletSplit the class into three or four groups by calling out numbers.
bulletExplain the rules:  Put this puzzle together as quickly as possible working as a team and the first group that finishes wins a prize. 
bulletHand out the puzzles and instruct them not to open them yet.
bulletGive them the command to go
bulletWatch the fun and confusion
bulletHand out pens to the winners
bulletExplain what just took place and the need for collaboration in the classroom.
bulletClass discussion on collaboration.


Collaboration is a must for the Computer Technology Program.  If I did not work closely with my department we would lose our focus and soon be teaching very unrelated topics.  This collaboration exercise was a lot of fun with a good lesson behind it.  It was fun to see the studentís reaction to having different puzzle pieces.  I like to see when they start to figure it out and start looking around the room.  Then one person gets it and then it is a free for all for a short time.  The excitement level is very high in this activity and I think that is why I like it so much.  Who says that computer programming has to be boring?

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This site was last updated 08/14/06