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Co-operative Squares


Reasons for doing this activity:

• Co-operation.
• Communication.
• To begin a discussion on how co-operative groups are run.

Before you start

Print the co-operative squares handout enough times so that each small group has one complete set. Cut the squares up along the dark black lines and divide the pieces up according to their letter. Put all the corresponding pieces in envelopes marked A B C D and E.

What to do

Divide the group into 5 groups. If this is not possible, pair some children up. Each person (or pair) receives one envelope.
Give the following instructions:

  • When the game begins open your envelopes and take out what’s inside.
  • The aim of the game is to have a completed picture in front of you. In your envelope you will all have pieces of a picture, but you will need to swap pieces with your friends in another group to make a picture.
  • You can pass a piece to a friend but you cannot take a piece.
  • You must not talk or communicate with each other.
  • You can stop playing at any time

Now, ask the group to begin. Avoid intervening unless a serious dispute arises.


Once the groups have finished ask them:

  • what was hard about this exercise?
  • What did they like?
  • Was it hard to co-operate with the group when you wanted to hold onto a piece of puzzle?
  • Were there ways in which you helped others solve their puzzles?

Co-operative leadership can be like this game. Everyone in the group holds a piece of a puzzle and sometimes you have to be patient and wait until they are ready to give it up. Everyone has something important to contribute but sometimes it can take a while for them to realise. How can we help make a group where people are happy to contribute? Why is it important that everyone contributes?

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