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?”
This icebreaker takes longer than most to facilitate, but it can be a fun way to start an event where it is important for the group to think creatively. Participants will work together in teams to create puzzles from their own illustration of different types of animals. Another team will solve the puzzle.
· Sheets of blank paper (1 per team)
· Notecards (3×5 inch – 31 per team)
· Markers (several colors per team)
· Masking tape (1 roll per team)
· Prize for the winning team (optional)
· Use one notecard from each team’s supply to write down the type of animal they have to draw. Here are some suggestions for what you can write on the cards (but feel free to make up your own):
o Tasty Animal
o Smart Animal
o Arctic Animal
o Australian Animal
o African Animal
o Ugly Animal
o Unfriendly Animal
o Mythical Animal
o Dangerous Animal
o Farm Animal
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “Let’s do an icebreaker!”
- “I need everyone to line up in order from least to greatest by your answer to this question: ‘How many pets have you owned over your lifetime?’”
- “Those with the most should be on this side of the room.” (Pick a side and point to it.)
- “Those with the least should be on this side of the room.” (Point to the other side. Allow them to sort themselves out. Then debrief by finding out how many pets various people had. Finally, divide the participants into groups by having them number off and having like numbers get together. Make sure that there are no more than six people per team. When they are in their teams, hand each team some markers, a sheet of paper and their 31 notecards, including the one with the assignment written on it.)
- “I’ve handed each group 31 notecards, some markers and a sheet of paper.”
- “On the top notecard is your assignment.”
- “You are to work together to draw that type of animal on the blank sheet of paper.”
- “Once you are happy with it, you are going to make a larger version of the same drawing on your 30 remaining notecards.”
- “It’s easiest if you lay the notecards out side-by-side like a big canvas and then draw the picture on them.”
- “You will be making a puzzle that another team will have to solve.”
- “There are some rules you have to follow as a team:
- Each person on your team must draw on at least four cards.
- There must be some drawing on every card. (It’s okay if it is background or landscape – it doesn’t have to be the animal itself.)
- You will have only 20 minutes to make your drawing.”
- “When your drawing is complete, shuffle your notecards.”
- “When I give the signal, you will give them to another team, and we will see who is able to solve the puzzle first.”
- “The first team to solve their puzzle will be the winner!”
- “What questions do you have?” (Answer questions, then let them begin drawing. When it comes time to pass the cards, you can have them pass them in any order you want as long as every group gets a set. Make sure everyone starts solving at the same time. When you have a winner, award the prize, if you chose to have one. Then, have groups debrief using the following three questions. After they are done, you can use the tape to tape the puzzles on the back so that they can be hung for everyone to see.)
- What was challenging about that activity?
- What would have made it easier?
- How is this like the work and challenges you experience in your teams?
25-40 minutes (depending upon group size)
This fun icebreaker can be an energizing way to get participants thinking out of the box.
o Flipchart paper (several sheets for each group)
o Markers (different colors to allow for creativity)
o Masking tape to hang flipcharts
o Prizes for the winners (optional)
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “We are going to do an activity to help us think out of the box.”
- “It will get us ready for some possibility thinking.”
- “Before we begin, I need to separate you into teams.” (Separate participants into groups using whatever sorting technique you like. Group size should be about 6-8 people. Once they are sorted, read the following few paragraphs. You might want to ask someone with artistic abilities to draw the planet and its characteristics as you tell the story.)
- “Each group represents a team of scientists who has discovered intelligent life on two planets in a distant galaxy. The planets are called Inner Zebox and Outer Zebox.”
- “Your deep space probe has returned findings that have led you to believe that Inner Zebox is a dying planet.” The atmosphere is stale and toxic and limits the thinking abilities of those who live there to safe, comfortable and uninspired ideas.
- “Outer Zebox, however, is flourishing! The atmosphere there is crisp and full of energy, and it gives those living there the ability to think new, innovative and exciting ideas.”
- “You are a little surprised that life is flourishing on Outer Zebox, because conditions on the planet are quite unusual.”
- “For example, it has three suns.”
- “It spins five times faster than the rotation of the earth.”
- “Strong winds on the planet blow straight up from the surface.”
- “And the planet is located right in the middle of an asteroid belt, where it receives meteor showers three times a day.”
- “Your government is very excited (and a little worried) at the idea that another planet has intelligent life, and they have asked you to draw a sketch of the type of being you are likely to meet when you make contact.”
- “In your groups, discuss and then draw the intelligent life form that would flourish on this planet.”
- “Your probe has not yet returned photographs, so you will have to make some educated guesses about what it looks like and what it is able to do.”
- “Use the data you’ve collected about its environment to help you imagine this new life form.”
- “You have fifteen (15) minutes to complete your drawings.” (After groups have finished their drawings, have them hang them up on the wall. Then have each group do a short presentation about their life form. After all the presentations, invite the participants to vote on the creature that is the most “Outer Zebox” (innovative and most likely to flourish on the planet) by putting a single dot in the corner of the drawing they like best with a marker. Award a prize if you wish.)