“You’re standing in a room with two doors. One opens to instant death, and the other leads to life. Standing in front of each door is a robot guard. With no other way out of the room, you must choose a door to enter. You may ask one question, which each robot will answer. One robot is programed to always lie. The other robot is programed to always tell the truth. What question could you ask that will help you identify the door to life?”

opendoor4opportunitiesThere are variations to this riddle. I invite you to solve this riddle–without looking up the answer. Feel free to share ideas with others. Post your answers or questions, and I’ll respond. If no correct answer is given in seven days, I’ll share mine.

This type of logic riddle, as told to me by my daughter, is a type of puzzle for groups of students to learn how to effectively collaborate and communicate when working on tasks. Global Competencies like Collaboration and Communication, among others, are essential skills needed to successfully navigate the complex challenges of today and tomorrow. Anyone graduating high school after developing Global Competencies during their K-12 experience will have a competitive edge over other graduates when entering college, career tech, entrepreneurship, and/or the work force.

Once in Delaware, a district official shared a story about a business that recruited employees with physics background. Only Ph.D. degreed individuals were considered for the complex work. What they discovered was that for every dollar spent on marketing, two dollars has to be spent training these brilliant scientist in effective social skills to communicate and collaborate well with others.

We assume that professionals know how to communicate and collaborate; yet where do they get formal training or coaching prior to joining the work force? In classrooms of colleges and the K-12 arena, students may get “opportunities” to use these skills, some more so than others. How often during these experiences do students use the language of these skills? Where do they become metacognitive and think aloud about what they are doing and evaluate the effects? Like adults, students don’t know what they don’t know—unless coaching and self-reflection is used to raise their awareness.

Logic riddles and team builder tasks are ways to engage students, and other teams, into a thoughtful process to reflect on what makes for good collaboration and communication skills in a social setting. After doing any such activity, the debrief is where connections are made and anchored into practice.  Here are some resources containing ideas for tasks that engage students with challenges to learn and reflect on their use of Collaboration and Communication:


Offers a wide range of team builders that can lead to rich dialog during the debrief. There is a linked category for Collaboration and Communication.


Several types of scenarios are provided here that leads to hard decisions being made. Participants learn much from the experience about themselves and others regarding collaboration and communication. I did one of these as part of a job interview…and was hired. Wilderdom has other activities as well that may well prove useful for a reflective conversation.

National Geographic Adventure

Want to make your own scenario? Or perhaps have students create their version? Check out this site for inspiration. Could be a project that incorporates skills and objectives in English and Science.


This site has an eclectic offering of team builders, like teampedia. May find some variation of ideas that could be used to build interdependence.

In my son’s Physic-Comp, he’s learning about fixed and growth mindset. It’s led to us conversing about the topic and reflections about how we think of ourselves (communication). The exchange of ideas has, I believe, influenced both of our thinking (collaboration). My hope is that a similar dialog is taking place in class, mixing the personal with the clinical. The opportunity for embedding the language of Global Competencies in his class is high.