Playing Card Tower Activity


            This activity would split the class into equal groups with the objective of building three card towers However, only half of the group can talk. Without any time to strategize, they must be able to work together while racing against other groups to reach the ceiling first. Once finished the class would have a debrief where they talk about how they believe the activity related to leadership and what aspects they specifically contributed too.  


  • As students come into the room have them sit on two separate tables.
    • On both tables there will 3 packs of playing cards.
    • When ready, tell the students that their goal is to use the materials on the table to build three playing card towers that are each 4 layers tall.
      • However, before they begin, pick half of the students on each side.
        • These students are not allowed to speak during the activity.
      • Each side will have 10 minutes to reach their goal.
    • Once the time limit has expired, bring the class back together to have a discussion on leadership and have them reflect on the aspects of leadership that was exhibited during this activity.
      • This should take 10-15 min.

Learning Outcomes:

            This activity focuses on three areas of leadership that are closely tied in Heiftez’ Leading with Open Hearts paper. The first is common purpose, in the sense that members of each group have to come together, despite not knowing each other, in order to build the three card towers. Furthermore, this activity focuses on collaboration by having only half the group to be able to talk. Similar to the adaptive challenges Heiftez talks about, students will be challenged by a limitation with which they will have to find a way to be able to work together and handle any issues to complete the task. Finally, this activity will focus on the individual’s congruence. By suddenly having to work with random people, and being placed with communication restrictions, individuals will find their instincts and beliefs tested and it is up to them on how they respond when dealing with others. 

Additional Materials:  

  • 6 boxes of Playing Cards