Hands On Problem Solving Activities

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Problem-solving activities can be a lot of fun when students get to use their hands as well as their minds. These activities will give you some ideas to implement in your classroom.

Problem-Solving Activities

Problem-solving activities can be great ways to improve creativity, work on team building, or just get students' minds thinking in new ways. A lot of problem-solving activities involve thinking and writing, so consider mixing it up by letting students use their hands as well as their minds. The following activities are designed to be adaptable to different grades and skill levels, depending on the needs of your class.

Blindfolded Shapes

This activity is written for small groups, but can also be completed by individuals. Give each group a long rope, and ask them to tie the ends together and shape it into a circle. At this point, all group members will be blindfolded. Ask the group to turn their circle into a square, while keeping their blindfolds on. The group will have to communicate with each other to determine how the shape is coming together. When they are finished have them take off their blindfolds and see how well they did. You can repeat this with several basic shapes, including some more challenging ones like a house.

  • Materials: Long ropes

Puzzle Stations

Set up a series of stations around the room with different puzzles and games and divide the class into small groups of 2-3 people. Each group will start at a different station. They will have two minutes to solve the puzzle or game at that station. Then, ask them to reset for the next group and move to the next station. Once everyone has been to each station, they will go through again, this time with 60 seconds to solve each puzzle. Once they've gone through all the stations, send them through once more, this time with 30 seconds to solve the puzzles.

  • Materials: Several basic brainteaser hand puzzles and games

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