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Puzzles are a great way to give students who are under- challenged the opportunity to work at a differentiated level to meet their needs. There are different skills required to work individually vs. in groups. When introducing puzzles to solvers, it is important to consider this.

How to Facilitate Solving Individually


Working alone through a tough challenge builds confidence and can lead to a long term love of learning. Puzzles and problems may be intimidating. Here are some tips to give your solvers:
• Remind them that it’s okay to fail, keep trying. 
• Encourage them to try something new, even if it’s challenging. 
• Stay positive! A compliment from a person who kids respect goes far.
• If stuck, encourage them to take a break and come back. Their brain may just need a refresh.
• Let them know that it’s okay to ask for help. No individual knows it all. 

How to Facilitate Solving in Groups


Collaborating with peers is one of the best benefits of puzzling. Though it can be challenging to work with others, adding different brains to a problem leads to exponential creative thinking. 
Here are some tips to help your solvers as a group:
• It’s helpful to have them identify a goal - what are they trying to solve?
• Encourage them to be good listeners and have them try others’ ideas,      even if they aren’t sure where they will lead.
• Neatness is key. Suggest they organize their thinking. Remind them -  not everyone takes notes the same way. 
• Consider how to divide the puzzles between solvers. Help them use  their teammates' differences to their advantage, and suggest they step out of their own comfort zone. 
• Everyone makes mistakes. Remind them to laugh at themselves! Humor is a fabulous solving tool.

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