Challenge each group to assemble the 25-piece puzzle as quickly as possible.
Explain that the puzzle is solved by matching two sides of different tiles through a unique, possibly cryptic association.
Encourage team members to help each other.
Allow ample time to solve the puzzle.
How To Play Narrative
To get started, purchase a set of Connectiles or download the sample set from the Resources tab.
Lay all of the 25 tiles face-up in random order on the floor or table.
Gather your group around the puzzle pieces, and survey the plethora of clues before them.
Explain to your group that each side of a tile that contains an image, is associated with or connects to another tile to ultimately form a 5 x 5 solution, ie five rows of five tiles each.
Your group is challenged to assemble the 25-piece puzzle as efficiently and quickly as possible. It is not necessarily a timed event, but we don’t want this to take three hours either.
It may help your group to suggest that, in some cases, the association between two tiles maybe based on a sound, a meaning or an idea. When in doubt, think cryptically.
For further help, explain to your group that there are several levels of clues (any one or all three of these will help your group to solve the puzzle:)
At a micro-level, the image on every tile will connect to another tile.
The orientation of the letters inside the circles all face the same direction; and
Finally, all 25 letters spell a sentence.
Practical Leadership Tips
Connectiles is an activity designed to be solved by a group of people. Although you can solve the puzzle alone, it is easier and more fun to do it as a group.
Check out the Resources tab for three downloadable templates – one each for adults and young people, and a blank template to create your own team puzzle (take a look at the Variations tab to generate some of your own ideas.) Either way, you are well-advised to laminate each of the tiles for durability.
If your group is struggling, the following questions and comments may help:
Are you listening to each other?
Using words to describe what you see may help someone else.
If you’re unsure, ask a question.
Are you sure the clue is what you think it is?
Perhaps swap places with someone else to change your perspective.
You could integrate Connectiles as part of a well-designed SEL program to promote and maintain healthy and supportive relationships within your group.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Setting Personal & Group Goals
Use Planning & Organisational Skills
Taking Other’s Perspectives
Recognising Strengths In Others
Communicate & Listen Effectively
Seeking and/or Offering Support
Build Positive Relationships
Demonstrating Curiosity & Open-Mindedness
Promoting Personal & Collective Well-Being
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits of cooperating as a team. That said, if you were to create a unique Connectiles puzzle with lots of references to health and wellbeing embedded in the tiles, then you could present this activity in advance of a thorough conversation about these outcomes.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Connectiles could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Blank Connectiles: Download the blank Connectiles template (from Resources tab) to create your own team puzzle, based on one of the following variations, or another subject.
Numeracy Connectiles: Create your own team puzzle with a series of mathematical equations, eg ‘2 + 2’ on one tile to match with ‘4’ on another, or symbol form ‘pi’ on one tile to match with ‘3.142857’ on another.
Literacy Connectiles: Create your own team puzzle with a series of literacy problems, eg ‘A’ on one tile to match with ‘VOWEL’ on another.
Health Connectiles: Use a series of health, physical education and/or fitness challenges, eg ‘RADIUS’ on one tile matches with ‘FOREARM’ on another, or ‘BPM” matches with ‘Beats Per Minute’ on another.
Competitive Task: Provide two or more teams with the same puzzle, and challenge each team to be the first to solve it. If possible, (video or audio) record each team as they solve the puzzle. Playback the video to observe the behaviours of the winning team.
Any Size: Naturally, the sky is the limit when it comes to the size and shape of your Connectiles. For example, you could make a simple 3 x 3 tile design or as big as 10 x 5 tiles.
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Useful Framing Ideas
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You will have all seen a type of crossword called a cryptic crossword in newspapers and magazines. These tend not to be my favourite type of crosswords because the clues – written as words and sentences – are often quite difficult to solve. So, I’m excited to present this next activity which presents, instead, a series of visual clues…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this fun team-puzzle:
What was happening at the beginning of the exercise?
When you first started, how were you feeling? Did this change?
How did it feel to discover an association between two tiles?
What strategies helped you to solve the puzzle?
Do you experience cryptic encounters in your work or play? What are some examples?
The inspiration for Connectiles was sourced from Aaron Weissblum, whom first developed the concept of this terrific team puzzle in association with Project Adventure. With thanks.