My Ship Sails

Type of Activity:  Problem Solving

Source:  Playing With A Full Deck, by Michelle Cummings

Props Needed:  playing cards

Group Size:  12-28 players

Setting Up the Cards:  You will need one card per player.  You will need an even number of hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs.  For example, if you have 28 participants, you will need 7 hearts, 7 diamonds, 7 spades, and 7 clubs.  Shuffle and deal one card to each player.  Put the rest of the deck aside.  You will not need it.

Playing the Game:  Divide your group into four equal groups.  Participants can show their card to each other in their small group.  They should not show their card to the other three groups.  The goal of the activity is to get all participants of one suit in all four groups.  The group should quietly come to consensus to determine which participant/card will leave the group each time.  When the facilitator says “Go!”, all four groups lose a member and gain a member at the same time.   Once a member leaves their original group, they are not allowed to speak.  This way they do not leak any information or strategies of the other groups.

As soon as one group has all cards of one suit they can say, “My Ship Sails.”  This lets the other groups know that they have all of the cards they need.  This group no longer has to lose or gain a card.

Most groups will think this is a competitive game.  They will assume that as soon as their team has all 7 hearts then their team wins.  The activity is not over until all participants are in the correct group.

Debriefing Topics:

  • How did it feel to leave a group?
  • How did your group come to consensus when deciding what card to get rid of?
  • Was it difficult not to speak after you left a group?
  • How did competition play a role in this activity?

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

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