Activity 2: Envelope task created by Tina Seelig at Stanford University

Description of the activity:
The students are supposed to raise an unknown amount in the envelope in two hours. When the students show initiative, they realize how easy it is for them to earn money.

Materials used and organization:
Materials used: an envelope and some money inside
Group size: the whole class divided into subgroups
Time: 2 hours


  1. Prepare the envelope with a small amount of money (no more than 2 euros is fine). Give them the envelope and tell them to figure out a way to increase the money.
  2. Give them two hours to be creative. You may want to give them some rules about what is and isn’t allowed. (For example, sometimes students come up with ways like trading for more valuable items or explaining their task and finding “investors”).
  3. Get together and evaluate what it was like and what they tried to raise the money. Usually, the students always find a way to increase the money and realize how easy it can be to be successful if you are creative and show initiative to come up with creative ideas.

With this activity you have achieved the following objective:

  • Creating the link between taking initiative and creativity or thinking outside the box
  • Experience that you can come up with wild ideas together that fall outside ‘normal’ frameworks