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Rearranging Numbers

Duration: 10 minutes

Intended for:

Use this free training game when there are a few minutes to spare in any training session where participants have to process a lot of information quickly.

Training course contents:

This free training game activity works really well in any situation where the learners have to assimilate a lot of information quickly. It would work well during these types of training courses (Coaching Others, Customer care, Negotiating, Sales, Train the Trainer, etc.)

You can download this free training game from the link at the bottom of this page, or follow the notes below.

Goal – to demonstrate how difficult it is for our brains to cope with a lot of information without the benefit of writing it down.


Ask delegates if they would like to win a prize (specify what the prize is).

Explain that you will give one volunteer the opportunity to try for the prize. All they will have to do is complete two short tasks. Ask for volunteers. Choose one of the volunteers.

Explain to the volunteer that the first task is to count around the numbers from 1 to 12 in the correct order. Also explain that any mistake will result in failure.

The volunteer is likely to complete the task easily and quickly. Ask the rest of the delegates how long the task took. Agree that it was a matter of a few seconds.

Explain that you will allow up to 5 minutes to complete the second task (make sure you time it). Tell the volunteer to think of the numbers as words instead of numbers. Their task is to call out the numbers in alphabetic order. Once again, the first mistake results in failure. Make it clear that the volunteer is not allowed to work out the answer on paper first.

It is unlikely that your volunteer will be successful. Even if he or she manages the task they will do it with great difficulty.

Ask the group why the second task was so much more difficult than the first.

Although the volunteer was working with familiar information this was in an unfamiliar context. Working with twelve pieces of information in this way is more than our working memory can cope with.


Correct Answer to the second task…















This free training game is useful to demonstrate how difficult it is for our brains to cope with a lot of information without the benefit of writing it down.

Rearranging Numbers


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