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To encourage team working.

by Paul Sandford

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To encourage team working.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need two sheets of A4 paper with 9 large dots on them, forming a square shape (3 rows of 3).
  • A pencil and a black ink marker pen.
  • A length of rope tied at both ends to form a loop.
  • Three balls (air flight golf balls are ideal).
  • Bible reading: Mark 6.30–44.


  1. Invite three children who are good at problem solving to come forward. The first is invited to join the nine dots (in the form of a square with a dot in the middle) using four straight lines, the pencil not being taken off the paper. Leave them to puzzle at this if they can’t do it straight away (which they probably can’t).

    The second is invited to hold the rope in the form of a square for the school to see. (An astute child will use hands and feet.)

    The third is invited to throw the three balls up in the air and catch them. (Maybe they can juggle.)
  2. Now invite the first to ask for advice. Someone may suggest starting in a corner, but for the first line to go beyond the next corner. If not, suggest this. Let them keep puzzling.

    Invite the second child to choose a helper. Together they should be able to hold the rope in a square for the school to see.

    Let the third choose two helpers. They can throw the balls, one each. Or they can even make a game of it and throw to each other.
  3. If the first child has not yet solved it, show the solution to the first puzzle with the marker pen.

    If the dots are at positions (1,1) (1,2) (1,3) (2,1) (2,2) (2,3) (3,1) (3,2) (3,3), then the first line is from (1,1) to (1,4), the second from (1,4) to (4,1), the third from (4,1) to (1,1), and the fourth from (1,1) to (3,3).
  4. Story: Feeding the 5,000 (Mark 6.30–44). Tell the story, emphasizing:

    The interaction between Jesus and his disciples
    Involvement in the team (v. 37)
    Doing what the leader says (v. 39)
    Learning by imitating (v. 41: the disciples had to trust God to carry on the miracle)
    Success of the team work (v. 43).

Time for reflection

Let the children look at the puzzles once more. Emphasize the need for teamwork if we are to solve many of life’s puzzles.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you that there is so much to learn.
Help us to learn by puzzling problems for ourselves,
by listening to good advice
and by following people who know better.


‘God is love’ (Come and Praise, 36)

Publication date: November 2009   (Vol.11 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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