My brilliant idea - Who is missing?

Puzzle - All ages

I have used this idea many times with form groups as an end-of-term or one-off activity. Make up a wordsearch containing everyone's name except one person. Choose someone with a fairly short name (so that it is harder to spot its absence) and who you are sure won't mind - they can have a special prize at the end. Such puzzles are easy to generate by pasting the names from your class list into

Pupils are generally eager to do the puzzle and see who isn't there. You can add yourself if you wish and perhaps a random celebrity, so you have an extra challenge if there is a draw.

Pupils love it if you add other names, such as a pupil's pet who they are always talking about. One pupil was known to call his pencil case Fred, so I added Fred.

If you want to make it serious, you can discuss afterwards how it feels to be left out of something for an arbitrary reason - in real life, people can be left out of groups for the silliest reasons.

Colin Foster teaches at King Henry VIII School in Coventry.

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