Card Towers

Type of Activity:  Problem-Solving

Source:  Playing With A Full Deck, by Michelle Cummings

Props Needed:  playing cards, one per participant

Props needed:  Deck of Cards and a stopwatch.

Playing the Game:  This plays well with 3-24 players.  Create groups of 3 or 5 players and give each group 10 Cards (more if you have enough Cards—each group should have the same number of Cards).  You will give the groups 5   minutes to plan on how they are going to build the highest free-standing Card Tower with the   resources they have—in 30 seconds.  Cards may not be creased in any way and no other resources can be used in the tower construction.  Score will be determined by multiplying the number of levels by the highest numbered Card at the uppermost level.  So, if there were 3 levels and a 9 was showing at the top level the score would be……?  After the first round give the groups 3 minutes to plan before the next round.  After that round 2 minutes to work out the bugs and go again.  The challenge here is how the groups/individuals define the word “tower.”  Have they even questioned the definition of tower?  Have they even questioned the definition of tower?  Could 8 cards lying on top of one another and 2 more set up in a TP shape on top of the other Cards be considered a tower?  Would it be 9 levels times the highest Card in the TP?  Just asking.

Variations:  Give some groups more Cards than other groups.  What if you only gave them 15     seconds to build?  What about 10 or 15 seconds?

Debriefing topics:

  • How successful do you think you were at this activity?
  • Did stress play a factor into your success?
  • How did timing the activity make a difference in your performance?


Learning styles utilized from the 7 Kinds of Smart:  ~logic smart, body smart

Purchase from the Training Wheels store:  Playing With a Full Deck, Jumbo Playing Cards, Colossal Playing Cards, Mini Playing Cards, Round Playing Cards

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