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If You Won the Lottery

What Would You Do with the Cash?


Lottery Ticket by Peter MacDiarmid / Getty Images

Lottery Ticket by Peter MacDiarmid / Getty Images

Peter MacDiarmid / Getty Images
Money is pretty powerful. How’s that for an understatement! It’s easy to think having a lot of it would solve all our problems, but history shows otherwise. If you won the lottery, what would you do with all the cash?

Ideal Size

Any size works. Break into small groups if desired.

Use For

Introductions in the classroom or at a meeting. This game is especially appropriate if you’re teaching math, accounting, or social sciences because you can tie the answers to your material.

Time Needed

30-60 minutes.

Materials Needed

None, unless you want to record the answers on a flip chart or white board for use during debriefing.


Ask each student to give their name and share what they would do with the money if they won the lottery. Specify the amount if you’ve got a particularly analytical group.


Hi, my name is Deb. If I won the lottery, I would pay off my car loan, plant some big trees in my backyard, put a big chunk in my retirement account, buy some things for my favorite people, and make donations to the organizations that are trying to save our planet. Oh, and buy some new Chaco sandals!


If you’re teaching one of the topics mentioned above---math, accounting, or social sciences---make notes as you listen to the responses, or better yet, record them on a flip chart or white board. Debrief by asking your students which items they might expect to associate with your topic. This would be a good lead-in to a review of your agenda.

On a deeper level, use this exercise as a springboard for a meaningful conversation about the role money plays in our society. How does it work for good? What problems does it cause? How does it perpetuate a social caste system? What effect does it have on our decisions based on the level of importance we give it?

For More on Meaningful Conversations

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