Puzzles provide an opportunity for students to make connections with content and practice oral skills.
Depending on the students’ ability level, puzzles may be differentiated by covering simple vocabulary
terms or people to more complex historical relationships and connections.
Draw conclusions and make connections
Develop perspectives of time and place
Interpret ideas and events from different historical perspectives
Time Frame
One class period for students to work in pairs or groups to create puzzles and explain connections.
Activity: Step by Step
Before starting this activity create a list of vocabulary, people, and events from the current unit of
study. Create puzzles using the terms from the list created that center around a theme or event. All
the puzzle pieces should connect in a historical way. Make sure that students will be able to explain
the connections based on the content studied.
Cut out puzzle pieces and place in bags or envelopes. Give students the puzzle to put together and
have them focus on making connections using all the pieces.
Share connections with the class. Point out the many different connections that the students came
up with.
 Create one, two, or three puzzles each on a different concept. Place all the puzzle pieces in
one bag and have the students sort the puzzle pieces creating correct individual puzzles.
Example: World War I, World War II, and Cold War puzzles.
Students explain the connections within each puzzle.
 Encourage students to make unique connections.
 Ask students to create their own puzzles and explain the concept and connections between the
puzzle pieces.
Project a blank puzzle on an interactive whiteboard. Place words, people, or events around the
outside of the puzzle. (some that connect and some that do not) Have students take turns dragging
the words, people, or events into each of the puzzle pieces. Students explain the connection after
each turn taken.
Write a concept in the center piece and have the students take turns dragging words, people, or
events that connect to the concept.
Make a puzzle that explains a time period or event.
The teacher takes the first turn and drags a word, person, or event into the puzzle without any
explanation. Students then take turns dragging words, people, or events that connect to build a
puzzle while trying to guess the concept or connection to the first piece placed by the teacher.
This activity can be turned into a writing activity by having the students write a summary explaining
the connections.
This activity can be both an informal and formal assessment depending on teacher preference.
Common Core Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6 – 12:*
Key Idea and Details
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source.
Craft and Structure
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text.
Describe how a text presents information.
Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Integrate visual information with other information in print and digital texts.
Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
Range of reading and Level of text Complexity
Read and comprehend complex literacy and informational texts independently and proficiently.