- Identify a set of texts, topics, or events that you want students to review. Consider the problems/solutions in these texts/topics/events.
- Create a puzzle piece template by dividing a regular piece of paper with a jigsaw-puzzle shaped line. Create multiple copies of this template. On each template, write a problem on the left-hand side, and a solution on the right-hand side. Make sure to leave out give-away identifying information such as character names or locations. Many enough copies for each student or each group. Then, cut apart the puzzle pieces.
- Teacher reviews the concept of problem/solution
Discuss how problem/solution can help students recall sequence/chronology, and how it ties in to understanding character motivation/intention.
- Students get into pairs or small groups. Teacher gives a set of puzzle pieces to each group.
Depending on the scope of the topics/texts covered, you may want to list them as a reference for students.
- Students read through the problem/solution puzzle pieces, discuss what they refer to, and discuss which solutions solve which problems. Students match up puzzle piece pairs.Circulate among groups, asking students about what they are noticing and thinking.Some pieces may be both a solution, and a new problem, especially in the context of a novel or history. Discuss these complexities with students as they arise.
- Teacher leads students in a discussion, reviewing problems/solutions, and considering how they fit into the context of the texts/topics covered.Ask students questions such as:
For narratives or history, ask students to think about what the problems/solutions mean for the characters or people involved: who wanted what? Who had the problem? What does the solution mean for everybody?Ask students to think about how the problems/solutions relate to the sequence of events.
How does each solution solve each problem?
What new problems are created (if any)?
- Students reflect on their learning alone or individually, orally or in writing.
Students should respond to questions including:
- How does this activity help you remember the order of events/steps?
- How can problems/solutions help you to understand what you are reading/learning?
- When else might this activity be useful for you?