Elephants In Denmark

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Gets the group's attention, and emphasizes listening to directions. Also a fun riddle.

Group Size



Set Up



Tell the group you can read their minds. Then follow the steps to prove it.

  • 1: ask each person to think of a number from 1 to 10.
  • 2: take that number and multiply by 9
  • 3: take the result and add the number together (i.e. 72 = 7+2, 9 = 0+9).
  • 4: take that number and subtract 5
  • 5: take that result and equate it to the corresponding letter of the alphabet (i.e., 4 = D).
  • 6: think of a country beginning with that letter.
  • 7: Ask them to think of an animal that begins with the second letter of the country name.
  • 8: Ask the group: "How many people are thinking of elephants in Denmark?"

This exercise works because any number they think of for step 1, will result in the answer of 9 for step 3. From that point on, the country will begin with D (there are only 5 countries that start with D - Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic and Djibouti - and the majority of the group is likely to think of Denmark). There are many animals that start with E but Elephants are the most likely guess.



Know your audience. If you are leading this at a conference on Africa, or you suspect that your group is more likely to think of Djibouti than Denmark - then don't guess Denmark.

You could ask the group to think of an animal that starts with the last letter of the country they thought of (in the case of Denmark, 'k'). Most people will think of "kangaroo." Next, ask them to think of a color that starts with the last letter of the animal, then ask "Who's thinking of an orange kangaroo in Denmark?"