Activity 7: 100 uses

Description of the activity:
This a warm up exercise for a group, it will lower their inhibitions to share their ideas with others on their team.
The task is simple: come up with 100 uses for old newspapers (or unused pizza boxes, or obsolete computer equipment, etc) in ten minutes as a team.

The exercise can be used repeatedly as an energizer.

Materials used and organization:

  • Make the group (e.g. students) into two subgroups of 10.
  • Provide lots of paper, pens & post-its (sticky notes)
  • A prize (a few blocks of chocolate for example)
  • Time monitoring via clock on computer (e.g. Bomb Countdown Timer – Online Stopwatch)


  1. Create two subgroups. (Do this by drawing colors, pulling strings, odd or even date of birth, etc.)
  2. State the idea of the assignment without mentioning the material: 10 minutes – winner group with the most applications – prize for the winning group.
  3. Let each group discuss how they are going to handle it, how they are going to organize it.
  4. The teams should generate as many ideas as possible. By repeating the exercise a few times, they learn the value of building on each other’s ideas and not hindering others’ ideas.
  5. All ideas are good. All ideas count. It’s not about the best idea.
  6. The teacher initiates discussion about the best way to generate as many ideas as possible: everyone for themselves, small group & large group, etc.
  7. With the knowledge of point 6, play this type of exercise again in another learning situation, and again.

With this activity you have achieved the following objective:

  • Students learn what an ideal group size is to generate a stream of innovative ideas.
  • Students learn which division of tasks yields the most.
  • Students learn which obstacles are involved in generating innovative ideas.
  • Students learn to reflect on group dynamics that are part of being innovative.
  • Students learn that being innovative is connected to having fun