Energizer Flip Chart Activity – Word Search Puzzle Review

Energizer Flip Chart Activity – Word Search Puzzle Review

PURPOSE:    Brain-based learning activity designed to energize participants (in a group with a maximum of 18 people) mid-way through a training session and to review and emphasize key points, issues, and terms covered up to that point.

The activity can be used as a pre-test (icebreaker) to introduce terms at the beginning of a session or as an interim or final review during the learning event.

Energizer Flip Chart Activity – Word Search Puzzle Review by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Blogger

OBJECTIVES:   Through an interactive team activity, participants will be able to:

  • Review and reinforce key content covered in the session.
  • Work together to compete against other groups.
  • Practice intra-group communications.
  • Have fun!


  1. Form three or four equal-sized teams. Any odd numbered participants can join any group.
  2. Provide a flip chart easel, pad, and markers to each group.
  3. Based on the program topic, the facilitator will prepare identical word search flip chart pages with the terms of key issues, ideas and concepts hidden and scattered throughout a series of letters (see sample below) for each team. These pages will be turned over behind the easels and out of view until the facilitator starts the activity.
  4. Prepare two “master flip chart” pages that the facilitator keeps at the front of the room. On one create an alphabetical listing of all terms to be found in the word search puzzle (words are shown below the sample word search example below). On a second “solution” flip chart page, create a word search identical to that used by the teams and circle each word they are to find from the alphabetical list page.
  5. When ready to introduce terms or as an interim/final review at some point in the program, unveil the prepared flip chart with the alphabetical terms listed. Do not unveil the solution page with circled terms until after the activity ends and a team has been declared the winner.
  6. Have each team line up in a row before their easel containing the scrambled words.
  7. Instruct participants that they are going to be trying to solve a word search puzzle by finding key terms, concepts, or issues that are part of the session content and that words can be found across, backward, up, down, or diagonally.
  8. When the facilitator shouts “go,” the first person in each team quickly proceeds to their easel. Turns over the word search puzzle and looks for the first word from the facilitator’s master list on the team’s flip chart page. When they find it, they circle it with the marker, then rush back to their team and pass the marker to the next person, who repeats the process and so on. Once the marker is passed, the team member goes to the end of his/her line as the activity cycle continues.
  9. The team getting all of the terms first shouts “Done” and all other teams stop looking for words.
  10. The facilitator does verification of terms.
  11. If all terms have been found correctly, the winners are rewarded (small toys, candy bars, or whatever).
  12. If words have been missed, the facilitator shouts “Continue” and they resume until someone again yells “Done.”  The verification process is repeated.
  13. Review the key terms and definitions as a group.


  • Prepared word search flip chart pages for each team.
  • Prepared master flip chart with word search terms listed alphabetically.
  • Prepared master flip chart with word search showing all words circled.
  • Assorted colored water-based flip chart markers.
  • Incentive rewards for members of the winning team.
  • Flip Chart easels and pads for each team.

ALTERNATIVE:  As an alternative to using flip charts for each team, you can print copies of the puzzle and distribute to team tables. Doing so loses the interactive and physical movement of the activity.

TIME REQUIRED: Approximately 10-20 minutes depending on team sizes.


  • Actively engages learners.
  • Stimulates recall and memory of key concepts and key terms and concepts.
  • Appeals to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning modalities/styles.
  • Increases energy and noise level in the room, thus energizing learners.
  • Applies the concept of rewards and incentives to help encourage participation.
  • Incorporates novelty and fun into the learning event.

Energizer Flip Chart Activity - Word Search Puzzle Review

For addition, creative training ideas and activities, get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning, The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers and Team Facilitators, and Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People. 

Brain-Based Learning Strategies

brain based learning strategies
Robert (Bob) W. Lucas, Author, Facilitator, and Performance consultant

Brain-Based Learning Strategies

In 2013 in June, Robert (Bob) W. Lucas hosted two events for the Metro DC ASTD Chapter in Washington, DC (Tapping the Brain for Learning and Brain-Based Learning Strategies).

The sessions focused on how the brain learns and some of the research that has been done related to applying color, sound, motion, novelty, learner engagement and other strategies to enhance learning environments and potentially increase opportunities for learners to gain, retain, recall and use what they learn.

On the 26th, he provided insights at the chapter’s dinner meeting in a session titled: Tapping the Brain for Learning.  This session explored many ideas, brain-based concepts, and techniques that can be used to enhance virtually any training program or presentation topic.

At the end of the session, and when applying concepts learned, participants were able to:

a.  Facilitate creative training programs and presentations that can help induce behavior change and are FUN.

b.  Identify, make, or obtain inexpensive materials that add spark to training programs and presentations.

c.  Increase interaction with participants.

d.  Review program concepts throughout your sessions in order to get an interim check of learning before the program ends.

e.  Create memorable techniques for adding excitement and sizzle to programs so that participants keep coming back.

Brain-Based Learning Strategies Training – Past Success by Robert W. Lucas

On June 27th, Bob facilitated a one-day workshop titled: Strategies to Make Your Learning Events Sizzle. In this event, participants experienced dozens of creative training techniques based on brain research related to how the brain best learns and retains information. These strategies presented that day were meant to be immediately applied in their own learning events. They covered many training workshop essentials for typing in research to learning.

Bob went on to expand upon some of the ideas addressed in the previous night’s program. Therefore, the additional information through a variety of experiential opportunities in which participants hear about a concept, see it demonstrated and then have an opportunity to try or discuss it. They did also discuss how they might use the strategies to strengthen their own learning events.

At the end of the program, participants were able to:

  • Create training environments that stimulate learning.
  • Incorporate the latest learning brain research into their training design and delivery.
  • Design learning events that result in higher levels of attention and retention.
  • Use techniques and strategies experienced in their own learning events.
  • Add pizzazz and novelty to their learning events.
  • Immediately apply what they learned.

Five Phases of Adult Learning

Five Phases of Adult Learning

Five Phases of Adult Learning

For learning to truly occur in an adult learning environment, a phased process is often helpful. The process that follows moves through five stages or phases. In a brain-based learning environment, participants are alerted to the learning experience in which they are about to take part. They are then led along a pre-planned path for transferring knowledge, skills, or attitudes back to the workplace or other venue.

Five Phases of Adult Learning by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

Using elements of the adult learning theory popular since that phrase was coined by Malcolm Knowles decades ago, you can develop sound approaches for engaging learners and helping them better gain, retain, recall and use what they experience.

Phase 1 – Preparing Participants for Learning

In the first phase of the learning process, you must condition participants for learning. This is typically done through icebreakers or creative training activities tied to the behavioral learning objectives or session outcomes and the actual training program content. In this introductory phase you grab attention and provide a foundation of information and help focus learner’s brains onto the topic to be addressed. By doing so, you increase the likelihood that they will quickly recognize, absorb, and process new information or stimuli and assimilate it into what they already know. Further, by providing a verbal, visual, and kinesthetic push, then identifying how the new information connects to what they already know, you can assist in bridging with memories they possess.

Phase 2 – Create a Stimulating Learning Environment

The second phase of the learning process incorporates handouts, job aids, or other visual material to supplement verbal messages. Such materials allow participants to better access information based on their own learning style (visual, auditory, or kinesthetic). To support learning content and aid comprehension, you can use associated visual aids to make key points, reinforce concepts, or provide alternative methods of information delivery. For example, colorful posters, transparencies or computer-generated slides, or flip charted information helps paint a mental image of the content.

Phase 3 – Reinforcing Learning 

Once the information has been delivered to the brain via one or more of the elements in Phase 2, connections are started. As a facilitator, you can enhance these bonds by conducting interim reviews throughout a session. During such reinforcements, you help mold and stabilize the learning through repetition and by helping learners see relationships. Such activities aid in increasing the depth of learner understanding while helping prepare them for Phase 4.

Phase 4 – Content Memorization

It is during this fourth phase that neural connections are made in the brain to help ensure that a learner can subsequently access or recall information and concepts learned. You can increase the effectiveness of this phase by teaching and using a variety of mnemonic or memory techniques. These strategies help learners to later access the information acquired.

Phase 5 – Implementation of Learning

In the final phase of learning, knowledge, or skills gathered are recalled and put into practice. If a learner is not able to successfully perform tasks or regurgitate information learned, there was likely a breakdown in the learning process and further review may be required.

To test the success of this phase, have participants demonstrate knowledge or skills through tests, practical application, or by teaching others.

For ideas on how to effectively design and deliver training that aids learning and embraces adult and brain-based learning concepts, get a copy a Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing, and Delivering Learning Events That Get Results.