Groups are effective if all members cooperate. If one member of a group is not cooperating, this will influence the performance of the entire group. This “Puzzles” exercise shows the negative impact if a group member does not cooperate with the others. It can be used as a starting point for a discussion on working with groups. It shows that the cooperation of each member contributes to the success of the whole team.


  1. To demonstrate the importance of cooperation in a group.
  2. To give suggestions on how to improve teamwork.


  • 20 minutes


  • Five puzzles of the same object with the same number and configuration of pieces. Before the session, the facilitators can prepare these puzzles by making a drawing (for example a dragonfly or a spider) on cardboard or art paper and then cutting it out.


  1. Before the session, from two puzzles hide two pieces each and put each puzzle in a separate envelop.
  2. Divide the participants in 5 groups and ask each group to pick an envelop.
  3. Give clear instructions to complete the puzzle.
  4. Give a signal and ask the groups to begin working on their puzzles.
  5. Let them work until 3 groups have completed their puzzle. The other two groups will not complete the puzzle.

Some guidelines for discussion

  1. What were you doing during the game?
  2. Why did some groups finish before the other groups?
  3. How did the groups that could not complete their puzzle feel?
  4. Does this happen in real life? Give examples?
  5. How do other people in a group feel if a member does not cooperate in the group work?
  6. What happens when some members do not cooperate?
  7. What can be done to prevent this from happening in our group?
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