Leadership Inspirations Activities

Card Triangles

Groups must try to create as many complete and correct cards as possible


20-30 minutes

Team Stage

Storming, Norming

Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity


Full Deck Of Cards, Scissors, Envelopes



This activity encourages group collaboration and problem solving by challenging them to create as many complete and whole playing cards as possible from a cut up, mixed up, and divided deck. They will demonstrate their abilities to think outside of the box and challenge competitive dynamics.



  • Prepare a Card Triangles Set. You will need a deck of playing cards, scissors and 6 envelopes. Cut up the deck of cards diagonally so each card is now in 4 triangle pieces. Mix up all the pieces and divide them between the 6 envelopes.
  • Split your group into 6 smaller groups (you can use more or less groups depending on the total group size). Be careful not to refer to these groups as ‘teams’.
  • Give each group an envelope. Instruct them not to touch the envelope or look at the contents until you tell them to do so.


  • Tell everyone that their task is to make as many complete, correct cards as possible.
  • Cards must be correct in that they need all of the pieces of each card and cannot piece together a card from different card pieces (for example, students cannot make a card out of two pieces from the king of hearts and two pieces from the king of spades, they must make a card out of all four pieces of the king of hearts)
  • Give them a time limit of 7-10 minutes and then let them open their envelopes.
  • Facilitator Note: If they ask any questions, a common one is “Can we work together?”, simply repeat the instructions. There is no ‘right’ way for the group to complete this activity but they will likely not be able to make any complete cards with their envelopes alone. When they begin to realize that they do not have all the pieces to some cards, they will usually try to trade or steal from other groups.


  • To increase levels of complexity instruct groups halfway through the activity that they may no longer talk to each other.
  • Use multiple decks of cards (ex. a blue deck and a red deck).
  • Try this activity with a puzzle instead! We recommend a puzzle that’s about 50 pieces.  


  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?


  • Are we the only ones that define our purpose? What or who influences our purpose?
  • How do we communicate our purpose to new members or people outside of our group?
  • Why is it important that we all understand the purpose of our group/activity/etc.?

Group Dynamics

  • What are the traits that make someone successful on this team? What are the traits that make someone unsuccessful on this team?
  • What motivates our group?
  • How does our group dynamic affect the way we get work done?

Project Planning

  • What has worked in other projects you have done? How have you dealt with setbacks?
  • How do you connect with the process of planning? Do you like it/not like it? How does this impact you/your group?
  • How do we manage our time? How does that affect our ability to complete our projects?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?