Home E-Learning Platform House of Cards

House of Cards


40 minutes

Learning Outcomes

Students learn how to listen carefully and effectively cooperate to build a house of cards together.

Resources & Preparation Needed

One deck of cards for each group of 3-4 students.


This challenge is all about teamwork, communication, leadership and management. The goal of the challenge is to build a house of cards with at least 5 levels, whilst blindfolded, within a 10 minute timeframe. 

A fun activity to start your class with and introduce elements of teamwork, management and collaboration. 

Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students. In each group, appoint a leader/coordinator. Distribute a deck of cards to each group and blindfolds to everyone. Assign a working space/table to each group.

Explain the task to the students: They must build a house of cards with at least 5 levels. They have 2 rounds to do it in different ways. Explain the first scenario and allow the students 5-10 minutes to do the task.

Round #1: All members of the team will be blindfolded, except the leader. The leader will be the only one that can see, but he/she is not allowed to touch the cards or other team members. The leader’s task is to give the team members voice commands to make them build the house of cards. All members must actively participate in the construction process. Once the students have finished or run out of time, ask them to remove the blindfolds, to check on their progress. Collect the cards to start from scratch and explain the second round (again 5-10 minutes for this round)

Round #2: This time, all members will be blindfolded, including the leader (teams can keep the same person as a leader or appoint someone else). The leader is not allowed to touch the cards or the other members. The leader’s task is to make them build the house of cards. All team members must actively participate in the construction process by following the leader’s instructions (and answering the leader’s questions).

Alternative way of doing it: As building a house of cards can be very challenging, alternative materials can be used, e.g. pencils.  Instead of building houses the learners can give each other instructions to spell a word letter by letter by placing the pens in the right way.

If slightly adapted, it can also work online, when learners ‘build’ objects out of pencils as they follow their colleagues’  instructions.

Ideas For Reflection

This challenge will emphasise the importance of good communication and different leadership styles. Discuss the progress of the challenge in the group using the following questions:

  • What was your first impression when you heard the rules?
  • What is your opinion now that you have completed the activity?
  • Did you have a strategy as a team?
  • How were decisions made?
  • How did you collaborate?
  • What have you learnt from this activity?
  • What would you do differently next time?

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