Brief summary of activity

The participants need to guess what/who is in an unmarked box by asking questions. Questions can be closed or open.

Aim of the activity

This activity can be used as an ice-breaker or an introduction to the research and/or interviewing topics by highlighting the use of open and radio questions in radio interviewing and/or the 5 W+H. The participants will learn to listen to the answers before producing a new question.

Expected Outcomes

The participants open up and relax

The participants understand the differences and advantages in the use of open and close questions

The participants become familiar with the 5 W + H as research technique.

Experience and skills required

The trainer needs to be familiar with interview and research techniques, and refrain from giving too much information when close questions are being asked.

When planning the game the trainer needs to be able to find an object or person/character that is familiar to the group

Infrastructure, setting, resources

A spacious room


The game lasts about 5 minutes. However, with the trainer info, etc, it could last up to 1 hour.


A box

An object or a piece of paper with the name of a well-known person/character.

How the activity should take place

The trainer introduces the game.

There is a box and in the box there is an object (in this case, the box can be passed around and the participants might shake it to get some information on the object) or the name of a person inside.

They need to guess what or who is in the box by asking open/closed or both kind of questions. Explain what are open questions (those that start with What, Who, Where, When, Why and How) vs. close questions (those that start with a verb and be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer).

Analyse the quality of information achieved with open vs. close questions.

Discuss the use of open and close questions in a radio interview setting.

Recommended max. number of participants and trainees to trainers ratio

One trainer would be enough for the group, as this is a fun activity that works well with any participant.


Only open questions allow on the first try, and then repeat with only close questions. How many questions were asked in each occasion before the participants guessed what/who was in the box. Analyse the quality of information obtained in each case.

Tips for Trainers

Keep it simple. A difficult object/figure might make the game too long and you really only need the game as a prop to initiate a discussion around interviewing or research.

Analysis and evaluation

Do participants understand the difference between open and close questions? You might ask them to interview each other only using open questions to ensure that they do.


Before interviewing; before research or as an icebreaker at any time during the training.