This game forces team members to work together in order to solve logic puzzles. Team members will work puzzles representing cars parked irregularly in a square parking lot. There is only one way out, and they must coordinate their movements so that their “car” is able to make it off the lot.
These Scriptures are provided as possible context for talking about the topics of problem solving or collaboration, but they aren’t essential to the activity. Use them if they suit your purposes.
- 1 Kings 3:16-28 (creative problem solving)
- Daniel 5:12 (solve difficult problems)
- Nehemiah 2:11-18, 4, 5 or 6 (creative problem solving)
- Nehemiah 3:1-32 (collaboration)
The amount of materials you will need for this game will depend largely on the size of your group and how many small groups you need to create.
- For each group of 4-6 people – Posterboard, futureboard or cardboard (One white piece, and one light-colored piece. Use the size that is readily available in the stores – about 2 ft tall x 2.5 ft wide)
- Thick, black, permanent marker
- Straight-edge for drawing lines (optional)
- Scissors or cutting tool
- One copy per team of each of the puzzle patterns and answer keys in the file “GAME – Parking Lot – Patterns.pptx.” (You can find this file on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com. Alternately, you could project an image of each of the patterns using a Computer, LCD projector and screen.)
- Prizes for winning teams (Optional)
- With the permanent marker and the straight edge, mark off a large square on the white posterboard, futureboard or cardboard. (24 in x 24 in).
- Divide this square into six squares vertically and six squares horizontally using the ruler, and mark off the lines with the permanent marker. (Each square should be 4 in x 4 in.)
- Mark an arrow, pointing to the right in the square on the far right on the third row from the top. (See the diagram to the left for a better idea of what this looks like.)
- On the light-colored posterboard, futureboard or cardboard, measure and mark off nine, rectangular pieces according to the following dimensions:
- 3 pieces of 4 in tall x 12 in wide
- 6 pieces of 4 in tall x 8 in wide
- Cut these pieces out.
- Mark diagonal stripes down one of the 4 in tall x 8 in wide pieces of posterboard, futureboard or cardboard.
- Divide the group into smaller groups of 4-6 people each.
- Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “We’re going to play a game called, ‘Parking Lot.’”
- “Every team has a white game board with 24 squares on it and nine separate pieces of posterboard (or futureboard or cardboard).”
- “You’ll notice that one of your pieces has diagonal lines drawn across it. This is YOUR car.”
- “All the other pieces represent ‘cars’ that belong to other people. Some are bigger cars than the others.”
- “The white game board represents a parking lot.”
- “I’m going to hand you a pattern (or “show you a pattern on the screen”), and your group should lay the separate pieces on your game board to match the pattern.”
- “You will only need eight of the pieces, because one of the pieces will be used for later patterns after the first one.”
- “Once you have duplicated the pattern on your game board, you will then work as a team to get your car out of the parking lot.”
- “There is only one way out, and it’s marked with an arrow on your game board.”
- “To get your car through the exit, you will have to move the other cars up and down or right and left to get them out of the way.”
- “None of the cars can turn, and they can’t move sideways.”
- “If they are facing vertically, they can only move vertically. If they are facing horizontally, they can only move horizontally.”
- “They cannot go through or over or under another car, but if there isn’t a car in the way, they can move as many unoccupied spaces as possible.”
- “The last rule is that you can only move one car at a time and only when I tell you to move.”
- “The team that gets their car out of the parking lot with the fewest moves wins.”
- “What questions do you have before we get started?”
- (Answer any questions. Then, pass out the first pattern. Allow groups three minutes to form a strategy, and then remind them that each team will move together as you give the signal.)
- (Tell them to make their first move. When everyone has made it, tell them to make their second move, and so on, until a group gets their car free.)
- (After you have allowed them to make 20 moves, if no team has won, you may want to let them start over. None of the puzzles require more than 20 moves.)
- (Hand out copies of the Answer Key for each puzzle so that teams that didn’t complete it can see how it is done.)
- (Award a prize for the winning team if you like, and play another round by handing out a second pattern.)
- (There are a total of six patterns available for use in the file. There are also Debrief Questions to highlight the teaching points.)
Debrief Questions & Discussion
- “What was challenging about the game?”
- “What did your team have to do to get your car free each time?”
- “What can you learn about problem solving from this activity?”
- “What can you learn about collaboration?”
- “How can this help you back in the real world of challenging problems?”