Three-Card Line Up

Type of Activity:  Problem Solving  

Source:  Playing With A Full Deck, by Michelle Cummings

Props Needed:  playing cards

Object of the Game:  To line up in the correct order from the lowest number to the highest number.

Group size:  6-12 Players per deck of cards.

Setting up the Cards:  Remove all of the face cards and tens.  Shuffle the deck well. 

Playing the Game:  Deal each participant three cards.  After looking at the cards, participants turn  their cards face down and mix them thoroughly so they have no idea of the relative positions of the cards.  Then, without looking at the cards, the participants each raise the three cards and hold them to their foreheads, creating a three-digit number, visible to their teammates.  Without talking, each participant looks at his teammate’s exposed cards. Each participant should place themselves in a line, based on what he believes the position of his own three-digit number.  Gesturing is not allowed.  After everyone is standing in a line, players may look at their cards.  The goal is to get the entire group in the correct order from lowest to highest based on intuition.

Tips for Good Play:  The Player, knowing the three digits in his number, but not what place each occupies, may be able to calculate the probabilities of his relative position.  If the Player’s digits are, for example, 3,7, and 8, and opponents’ numbers are 452 and 921, Player is twice as likely to be in the “middle” (with 7 or 8 in the 100’s place) than “low” (with 3 in the 100’s place).  If Player goes second or third, and other players have already made bets, Player is in an even better position to make a guess that takes the opponents’ reasoning into consideration.

Variation:  Players do not see their own cards, but they are told the total of their three cards.  With only that information and the view of each of the opponents’ three-digit number, players each guess whether their number is highest, lowest, or in the middle.

Learning Skills:  practice in reading three-digit numbers, place value, calculating probabilities, deductive reasoning.

Practical Applications:  This is a good activity for groups or individuals struggling to find their ‘place’ in an organization or classroom.

Debriefing Topics:

  • What strategies did you use to determine what number you had on your forehead?
  • How did it feel to have no help from your teammates?
  • What do you want to remember about this activity?
  • How can you apply this to what happens everyday in this company/classroom?

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

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

Material in this Online Games Database is copyrighted.  Copyright ©  Training Wheels or by the author who submitted the activity.  Permission needed to copy or reproduce.