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Story puzzle warm-up

Story puzzle encourages participants to collaborate to put different pieces of a story back together.

The story puzzle warm-up activity is designed to be completed in groups, and includes components that require members to rely on each other and take responsibility for different aspects of the task. This activity aims to foster teamwork, patience and acceptance of each other’s strengths and weaknesses as participants collectively develop strategies to put different pieces of a story together. This activity is particularly useful in contexts where people from various different contexts and abilities are brought together to collaborate on a common goal and can set the groundwork for how they will later work within their teams. It provides opportunities to learn from one another and offer support to those with different needs and capabilities. You can find a link to an example of story puzzle that was used in one of the IDRC co-design sessions here: Story Puzzle example (PDF)


  • Find a an interesting short story, poem, or script or create one yourself.
  • Split the story into individual sentences/phrases.
  • Place these individual sentences/phrases on a paper.
  • Add symbols to the end of each sentence/phrase that are linked to the same symbol at the beginning of the next sentence/phrase. This would prompt the participants who may be having difficulty understanding the story or its language to ask others about the symbol on their strip of paper and find their partner through this approach.
  • Print the sentences/phrases and then cut the paper into separate strips.
  • To begin the activity, give each participant a strip of paper and ask them to move around the room to find other participants with a sentence/phrase that is connected to theirs until they are able to piece together the entire story.
  • Participants can only read out what’s on their own strip of paper and are not allowed to show it to the other participants unless they ask for help, for example if they cannot read the text.
  • Provide assistance for participants who are unable to easily hold the strip of paper, or see its content (If possible, add braille prints to each strip of paper), or ask others to pair with them.
  • Ask people to be mindful of other participants, service animals, and mobility devices when moving around the space.

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