## Cooperative squares

**Date:** 2021 25th October

**Areas:**

Interculturality

Fight against exclusion

Peace

**Age:**

- 10-12
- 12-14
- 14-16

**
Objectives :**

- Reflect on the mechanisms of group cooperation.
- Understand that cooperation helps to find solutions.
- Understand that competing and not cooperating delays solutions or prevents them from happening.

**Autor:** Instituto Hegoa “Fichero de actividades para trabajar la solidaridad”.

**Adjuntos:**

**Valoración:**

Five people get their corresponding envelopes with pieces of a square inside, but they are not enough to assemble the figure. In silence and without using any hand gestures, they must cooperate and exchange the pieces, so they assemble their square. The group will finish once every member a square of the same size as the other group members in front of them. They will only achieve the required goal if they collaborate with each other.

The class is divided into groups of five people. If there are people left over, they will be observers of the game and actively intervene in the analysis and final discussion. The participants will gather in groups of five around each table. Each group will receive five envelopes A, B, C, D, E which contain square pieces. Each envelope contains the following pieces:

- Envelope A: i, h, e.
- Envelope B: a, a, a, c.
- Envelope C: a.
- Envelope D: d, f, j.
- Envelope E: g, b, f, c.

The envelopes and the corresponding pieces are divided up, so the solution is impossible if the participants do not exchange them.

Every group must assemble five squares of the same size. Some pieces would be enough to build smaller squares, but this solution is not valid.

This ends when every member has in front of him or her the assembled square of the same size as the ones made by his or her colleagues. Participants cannot communicate verbally or by hand gestures. None of them have the right to request or take pieces from other person or to indicate with signs that they need a piece to finish their square. When someone realizes they cannot use one of their pieces, they place it in the middle of the table, where another person can take it because it is useful for them. They can only take the pieces which are in the middle of the table. Nobody should allow other people see their pieces or the square they are assembling.

Then, when each group has succeeded in forming identical squares, a dialogue and reflection are established regarding the activity and how they worked and collaborated in groups.

- How did they find the solution?
- How did the person who had the envelope C feel?
- Did someone realize the envelope C only had one piece?
- What did you do to facilitate collaboration in the group and what held it back?
- What can you say regarding the way to find a solution to a common problem?

This activity highlights the needed conditions for true cooperation, among which we can comment on:

- Understanding the problem to be solved.
- Understanding the way each person can contribute to solving the problem.
- Becoming aware of how other people can contribute to solving the problem.
- Understanding the individual problems of the participants, which can require help even before finding the solution to the common problem.
- Understanding the solution of a collective problem may require a redefinition of individual problems, as by bringing into play the pieces you have.

This activity is proposed in the framework of the Solidarity Campaign 2021-2022: