Egg Drop Auction

an Experiential Exercise by Steve Edwards

Please read the instructions from beginning to end before deciding you don't understand and emailing me. I have written them from the top of my mind as I need to focus on my current supervisory skills program. Everything is here but not as nicely organised as I would normally make it. If you still don't get it after reading to the end mail me and I'll reply at the weekend.

Enjoy, have fun and please send me something you have had success with.


Step 1.

Collect together an assortment of (clean) trash. The amount of stuff will vary depending on the number of people & teams. A typical lot of trash for about 3 or four teams might include:

Used toilet role with a little tissue let on it

plastic bag or two

elastic bands

used paper cup (or two)

some sticky tape (not too much)


some tissue paper

a small box or two... empty cereal box, empty food package

wooden chopsticks

something disgusting

a few useless things


Teams can be as small as two or as big as ten. Something in between is best. You really need at least 3 teams to make it fun.

Prepare and display this assortment on a large table.


Step 2.

Divide your people into groups of about 3 - 5 people. These are your teams.

Explain to them that they have a task. It is:

To construct an egg catcher that will catch a raw egg dropped from 20 feet in the air. Their egg catcher must be free standing (they can't hold it).

They will be responsible for positioning the egg catcher - you will only drop the egg. To make the egg catcher they can use any or all of the materials they buy from you at auction. But ONLY the materials that they have bought at auction. Nothing else.

Note by Scott - a VERY interesting option would be to have another team's participant do the dropping of the egg!


Give each team the same amount of monopoly money (I use special egg money but this is a luxury).

About $125 Egg dollars usually does the trick.

Explain to your teams that you will show them some items and that these items will be auctioned off after their first team meeting. They can buy any or all of the items in a competitive auction (items go to the highest bidder). How they bid; who bids; what they make; how they make it is up to them. The auctioneers decision on bids is final.

Have them view (but not touch) the items on display and then go away and discuss their plans, strategies. Go around and gently remind them of the task.

After the discussions begins to die. Bring them back and auction off the items. Go wild; go crazy; tell jokes; exaggerate the value of items. If you think it will sell well, start with a high price, if you think it will not sell at all put two items together as one lot. If someone nods or winks take it as a bid.

(Life's not fair. I bought a non functional radio at an auction once because the auctioneer thought I was bidding.)

Raise the bids quickly ... you get the idea .... it takes a little practice and you may need to think about it but you should get the hang of it pretty quickly. Make the auction fast paced and fun. Sometimes people from the same team bid against each other they get so carried away. All sorts of things happen.

As you sell take the money. Give them the items. Some things may have a reserve price and be removed from the sale if not sold.

After everything is sold have them go away and build their egg catcher. USING ONLY the materials they have bought at auction. No borrowing, stealing ifs or buts.

(Option) After the catchers are made you can gather each team for a proud group photo.


Step 3

Now you need a location such as a stair well, window, balcony or such about 20 feet above the ground. Hold a raw egg in position. Have the first team position their egg catcher. On their signal drop the egg.

If their egg catcher catches the egg without the egg breaking they have "won" - succeeded.

If not; they have not.


Notes and advice:

Put some paper on the ground to facilitate cleaning.

Have an extra egg (or two). The first team often do not position the egg catcher exactly right and so I give them a second go at the end (as I do with any other team that fails because of poor positioning - as long as I have eggs).

Have some small prizes (key rings, for example) for the winning team ... and then give one to everyone ... because everyone is a winner.

You can make the dropping more exotic by: painting the eggs gluing string to the egg and burning the string using your imagination


"Ability is what you're capable of doing."

"Motivation determines what you can do."

"Attitude determines how well you do it." - Lou Holtz


Steve Edwards

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