The Rundown

Cowboy Inkblot and Find the Numbers PowerPoint

Google Classroom
Google Meet

Reinforced Values

This lesson is all about vision and sharing knowledge. It is important that any group, organization, or business, communicates their vision clearly, has a shared vision, and share the knowledge required to reach common goals.


Explain to students that the class will be doing a “vision test” today. It will be very simple and won’t take long. You want to allow for that “lightbulb moment” to happen, so be vague!


  • Determine how you will share the activity with your students.
  • Review the Activity Guide and PowerPoint and modify as needed. Insert blank slides to help with your facilitation if needed.
    • ProTip: When sharing the PowerPoint images virtually, keep in mind that you only want students to see one image at a time in order to not give away the answer. Be sure to begin the PowerPoint slideshow prior to sharing your screen or else students may see multiple slides at once.
  • Review the debrief questions shared in this guide and decide how you would like to share any of those as additional reflection questions for students to complete individually or collaboratively using a video conferencing platform like Zoom.


(NOTE: This activity is best facilitated as a virtual, collaborative session with students.)

Part 1 (Cowboy Inkblot): Directions

  • Using the PowerPoint to screen share, tell students the image you are about to show them has an inkblot on it. When you show the Cowboy Inkblot 1 image, ask them to share/post/comment the first thing they see.
    • Encourage any answers they give, right or wrong.
  • After a few minutes of sharing, let them know what they “should” see in the picture; a cowboy on a horse. Give them some time to try to see it (students are still looking at the Cowboy Inkblot 1 image).
  • After a minute or two of them trying to see it, change the slide to the electronic image to Cowboy Inkblot 2 that shows the cowboy on a horse more clearly. Ask the students if they see it now. More often than not, students who don’t see it will ask their peers where it is. Encourage this behavior because it is exactly the kind of collaboration that entrepreneurs use to get people to see their vision.
  • Let them look at Cowboy Inkblot 2 for a few minutes. You can then switch it back to the original, Cowboy Inkblot 1. Share both visuals and pose the question to them if they are now able to see anything other than the cowboy on the horse. If so, why do they think that is?

Part 1: Debrief

Students can complete the debrief on paper by answering the following questions or be put into groups via Zoom to discuss their learnings.

Following the Cowboy Inkblot activity, discuss these questions:

  • Shared Vision – What does this inkblot have to do with businesses or organizations? Why would we be talking about vision in regard to businesses and organizations? ProTip: A good analogy here is a football team having the goal of winning a championship. If all the players have the vision of taking home that championship trophy then they are all working toward that same goal. But if there are people on the team that don’t share that vision, accomplishing that goal is extremely difficult.
  • Knowledge sharing – Some of us had a hard time seeing the cowboy on the horse and we needed others to help us. How many people needed help? Were your peers willing to share their knowledge of the cowboy on the horse?


Part 2 (Find the Numbers): Directions

  • Tell students they will again be looking at an image and in this situation, they work for you. Their job is to find numbers. When you tell them to begin, they must all find the numbers 1 to 54 in order on the slide. They only have 60 seconds to complete their job. You need them to be 100% productive.
    • Share Find the Numbers 1 slide/image when you want them to begin finding the numbers. Start the timer for 60 seconds.
  • After 60 seconds is up, tell them to stop. You can blank your screen so they can no longer see the numbers.
  • Ask how many got to 10, 15, 20 and so on. You can tabulate how far each person got if you would like a record of productivity.
  • Ask them to share out how easy that was. Was it confusing? What would make it easier? Was there a pattern? They will more than likely say yes.
  • So, tell them you will give them a chance to improve their productivity (because more than likely no one completed the job). Tell them you will help them out. Tell them there is in fact a pattern. BUT don’t tell them what it is. Give them another 60 seconds to find the numbers, in order 1 to 54. They should do better because they now know there is a pattern!
  • After 60 seconds is up tell them to stop. You can blank your screen so they can no longer see the numbers.
  • Again, ask them how many got to 10, 15, 20 and so on. You can tabulate how far each person got during this round and you will hopefully show increased productivity.
  • Ask the following: Was that easier? What would make it even easier? Didn’t I help enough? Didn’t I give you enough information?
  • Now, ask them if they think they could complete their job if you told them what the pattern actually is. At this point you can show them the Find the Numbers 2 slide.
  • Now that they have the knowledge of the pattern in front of them, give them another 60 seconds to find the numbers in order from 1 to 54.
  • After 60 seconds you can tabulate their productivity again. This time you should have a significant number of students who have completed the job.

Part 2: Debrief

Students can complete the debrief on paper by answering the following questions or be put into groups via Zoom to discuss their learnings.

  • Shared knowledge – Why was it easier to do with more information? Once you saw the pattern, was it easier to ignore all the noise on the image? Is it important for those who have the information to share it with those who can use it? Why?
  • Good leadership – As your boss, was it important for me to give you all the information you needed to complete the job I asked you to complete in the most effective way? Would it have benefitted you as an individual if I had given you the pattern at the beginning? How? As your boss, would it have benefitted me? How?
  • Opportunity – As an entrepreneur who is looking for Win-Win opportunities, what can you take away from this activity? Is the world full of randomness and chaos? Or are there patterns that help you to be more successful and productive?
  • Failure – It is likely that you experienced some failure during either Cowboy Inkblot or Find the Numbers. How did you handle it? Did you seek knowledge? How did you overcome failure? How does our mindset about failure influence how we handle challenges in real-life?

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