Dumbledore watched, very contentedly, as the various students tried various things to turn their pincushions into hedgehogs, more with lesser success than others.
He raised his hands, as if to speak, but everyone was still absorbed in trying to please him and make something happen that they hadn't been taught. And of course, he had been fully aware of that.
But the commotion continued, so he drew the Elder wand, waved it in a small circle, and clearly intoned, "Finite Incantatem!"
The reaction was more violent than entirely anticipated, the largest and most misshapen pincushions snapped back to their original size and shape with a crack, while smaller pincushions and so on returned to their original size, shape and colouring with a small pop.
Beaming a smile at the class, he stowed his wand and spoke.
"I will admit to this particular class being... intentionally difficult for some of you - and for that, I apologise. I was well aware that we do not normally cover this particular spell until the fourth year. However, the world ahead of us is much more than simply what we will learn in a classroom. There are such things as friendship, camaraderie, compassion that no classroom can teach."
"But," he smiled again, "one thing we can teach is that sometimes you won't have all the answers, and it is just as important what you do when you don't have the answer, as what you do when already fully equipped. It is my happy duty, therefore, to award the following house points."
He paused, mentally tallying up the scores where the houses were currently, and not wishing to show favouritism. "To Miss Pemberton, ten points to Gryffindor for some remarkable quick thinking and deduction on her part and the bravery to attempt it whatever the outcome. Miss Bartlett, five points for showing faith in your friends, and for being the only student to be daring enough to ask another for guidance. Mr Cashmore, eight points for some fine deductive reasoning, and being willing to help another student."
He smiled inwardly at that point, knowing full well that both of them had hoped to not let on they were asking for help.
There were a litany of other students he awarded points to - some dozen points to myriad Slytherin students for getting more or less to hedgehog status, another eight or so for Ravenclaw for particularly fine points on the hedgehog quills, and a round twenty for Hufflepuff for encouraging their housemates to read and look for a solution together... it was one thing to ask for help, another to offer, but to collectively try to work together was a different skill altogether.
"Now then," he beamed. "I shouldn't think we will be needing the pincushions for the next part." With a wave of the Elder wand, and a few words muttered almost inaudibly, the pincushions disappeared from the classroom.
"I want to remind all present, help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it. I would remind everyone also that there is no shame in admitting that you do not know how to do something - I myself am a terrible gardener for example and always defer to Professor Bryce - and that by working together we can achieve more than we would by ourselves."
He left a pause to let it sink in.