Purpose:  to practice asking for help and using problem-solving skills; this activity is geared to intermediate and advanced level students

Prep time:  30 minutes

Materials:  Problem and solution cards, enough so that one third of the group has a problem card and the others have a solution card.  Here are some examples of problems:

Your keys are locked in your car.

You locked yourself out of your house.

You need to change your baby’s diaper, but you forgot to bring an extra diaper.

You want to stop your neighbor’s dog from coming through a hole in your fence.

Here are some examples of solutions:

A hammer

A paper clip

A piece of gum

A coat hangar

A piece of wood

A handkerchief

A blanket

A stone

A knife

Make sure there are several possible solutions for every problem.


1) Give a card to each student.  The students with the problem cards have to find a possible solution to their dilemma.  They do so by explaining their problem to those who have the solution cards.  If necessary, model an interaction to clarify the instructions.

2) Students mingle.  Those with solutions try to suggest a way to solve the problem, using the item on their cards.

The interactions could go something like this:

A: Can you help me please?  My keys are locked in my car.

B: Oh, you can use my hammer to break the window. Or, I’m sorry, I can’t help you (if the student can’t think of a solution using their item).

3) The object of the game is to find a match as soon as possible and sit down with the person who provided a solution.

4) There will be students left standing with solutions and no partner.  They can then challenge the seated pairs to justify their match.  If they can persuade the class that their solution is better, they can “grab” the partner with the problem and create a new pair.

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