Broken Squares Activity

You can use this activity to allow pupils to explore their contribution to a group, their social skills and cooperation.

It would be a good activity to do for form time.

You will need to make the squares shown in the picture below. All pieces with the same letter must be the same size.

Label five envelopes 1,2,3,4,5 and distribute the cards into the envelopes as follows: envelope 1: I,H,E, envelope 2: AAAC, envelope 3: AJ, envelope 5: DF and envelope 5: GBFC. Write the envelope number on the pieces.


Each table is given all five envelopes. Their task is to make five squares of the correct size.

No member may speak.

No member may ask another member for a piece or in any way signal that another person is to give him or her a piece, however, members may voluntarily give pieces to the other members.

After the activity

Ask the pupils to consider some or all of these questions:

1. What happened first? What strategies were used in the beginning?

2. What were you each individually thinking in the first few minutes?

3. What happened next? Did strategies shift?

4. Did someone make a move that shifted the group’s approach or in some way broke the log jam?

5. Did anyone appear to be left out?

6. What roles did you individually have?

7. What did you become aware of about yourself regarding cooperation and competition?

8. What insight/awareness did you get about groups in cooperative tasks?teaching tip 16122013

Still Image

Explain that a “still image” is alike a photograph or a freeze-frame video. It captures action, but is silent and motionless.

Share an image/topic/word etc with the group and ask them to create a still image that for them, demonstrates what the image is “saying”.

Alternatively, share the image and ask the groups to recreate the picture as a stilli image, inventing the names, histories etc of the characters.

Alternatively, ask the pupils to create their own image of the learning outcomes for the lesson.

In some subjects you will need to have props to support here!


To protray a moment in history, a novel, a biological process, a religious cermony, to bring to life a painting, as a starting point for creative writing or exploration on moral or social dilemas, to portray a chemical reaction, a law of physics, a mathematical truth etc.

Loyalty Card

We know that building student confidence is really important. Often, we try to do this through enabling pupils to see how competent they are with various tasks. If we build a “can do” attitude or a “growth mindset”, then research suggests that students begin to feel more relaxed about owning and sharing their errors. This idea of building competency is at the heart of this week’s teaching tip.

We probably all have loyalty cards for various shops. The idea here is to provide pupils with a grid/generic activity checklist which they can be given at the start of a topic. Perhaps you are encouraging them to develop new skills or new knowledge. On the grid, specific tasks that the pupils need to complete during the topic are given. As they complete each of the tasks, they receive a stamp on their grid. The idea is for them to compete at least “x” during the topic and they can also aim for more, or their targets or grid could be personalised.

You could change this slightly by providing the pupils with different approaches/homework tasks for the topic and get the pupils to aim to gain as many different “loyalty points” as possible, during the topic.