This is a favorite lesson I use each year on the second or third day of school. The goal is to show the students how I want them to work together throughout the year, but without giving them a lot of mathematics to think about. The kids love this, and I learn so much about their individual personalities and work habits. I ask all the students to complete the task themselves without talking. They are instructed to skip questions or guess if they do not know an answer. There's nothing wrong with guessing....ever! Once they've had a chance to think it through quietly, I let them find a partner to share their answers. Next, I let them join another set of partners, and the four students combine all their answers. Lastly, I give them one minute to ask anyone in the room for help. Once they have answered as many questions/puzzles as they can, we reconvene as a group. There are typically 1 or 2 puzzles no one in the room can solve (usually the zip code!). When they give up, I tell them the answers. This is what I do during a lesson as well. I frequently let the students work together, and then I help fill in the missing blanks when they have done as much as they can on their own. This activity does several key things. It tells me which students gravitate towards each other, who has difficulty finding a partner (I help if I notice this), who perseveres and who gives up easily, who likes to volunteer and who likes to sit back and watch. The students are having fun, and I simply observe all the new personalities! Ultimately, what I want the kids to understand is that math doesn't have to be learned alone. All students need time to think, but we are here to help each other. Some will excel at the visual puzzles, some will easily solve the football problem. We all have strengths and weaknesses whether we are solving puzzles or math problems.