A10 A secret in a box!


Find a large cardboard box without holes. Place a number of different items in the box that have been found in the local area. These could include a bag of seeds, some stones, a hammer and some nails. Close the box so no one can see inside.

The motivators should call a meeting with local people. Divide participants into four groups and set them each a different task. Keep this funny and don’t let people take it too seriously. Ask each group, starting with Group A, to carry out their activity in front of the meeting. After discussing, they share with everybody what they think is the secret in the box. They must be very clear about all the details; colour, shape and size. Group B follows next, then Group C and finally Group D.

  • Group A is allowed only to walk around the box before it decides what they think is inside.
  • Group B is allowed only to pick up the box and smell or shake it.
  • Group C can blindfold one person who can put their hand in and feel the objects inside without taking them out of the box. The others must not look inside.
  • Group D is allowed to take out the objects one at a time and describe them.

  • What happened in this exercise? What was each group doing? What did you notice?
  • Why did Group A know so little about what was contained in the box?
  • What helped each of the other groups to understand more about the ‘secret’?
  • If the ‘secret in the box’ is made up of all the important knowledge and resources contained within our local area, who knows most about the ‘secret’? Who knows least?
  • Who knows best about what is available within our local area? Who is best able to use this knowledge?
  • Who do we usually think of as most important? Does this exercise make us question our attitudes about this?


Make sure there are no sharp objects that people could cut their hands with. 

bag of gravel
bag of good soil
hoe for digging
bottle tops
exercise book