Spatial Requirements: Regular classroom setup; little or no space required
Activity Type: Object
Grades: 5-12
Group Size: 3 or more
Time: 10 minutes

Introduction: In this puzzle challenge, students will address the feelings associated with an unfair situation. They will understand they might need to find their own solutions in life. Students will also feel the accomplishment that comes with solving their own problem, turning negative feelings into a positive outcome by Flipping the Switch.


  • 1 copy of the attached puzzle, printed and cut
  • 1 sandwich bag for each student 


Preparation: Copy and cut one puzzle for each student, placing the pieces into a sandwich bag. For each puzzle bag, remove one piece of the puzzle. It does not matter which piece is removed.

For every five students, place the collected puzzle pieces into the sixth student’s puzzle bag. (Each student should have 5 pieces while the student with the collected pieces will have 11.)

Hand out a puzzle bag to each student. Tell your class they have 3 minutes to complete the puzzle.

Students will quickly realize they are missing a piece. When they try to ask you questions, insist that they find a way to finish the puzzle. Encourage students to collaborate to find a solution to their problem.

Processing the Experience:

  • How did you feel when I told you to “complete the puzzle” without giving you more information?
  • What was your initial reaction to the problem?
  • Did you give in to your feelings of frustration or did you find a solution? (Relate to Battery analogy)
  • When did you realize you needed someone else to help you complete your puzzle?
  • How did you feel when you completed your puzzle?
  • How is this sometimes like life?
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