Icebreakers
Warm up new students for participation in class
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What are they:

Icebreakers provide an opportunity for students to warm up to a new environment and relationships. They can also help educators get to know a new class and build confidence before proceeding with lesson content.

Giving students an opportunity to interact early in the semester, using activities that have low social risk, encourages them to be more active participants in class.

A good activity will encourage participation, bonding, motivation, and allow students to relax into the new class setting.

Benefits:
  • Warm up new students for participation in class
  • Create positive relationships with students through greater understanding
  • Support development of inter-student relationships
Example questions:
How would you spend your days if you had unlimited time and resources?
Text Response
You’ve been teleported to the Middle Ages. How do you make a living there?
Text Response
If you could have an animal sidekick, what would it be? Why?
Text Response
If you could go back in time 10,000 years ago and make a cave painting to confuse everyone in the future, what would you draw?
Text Response
It’s your first day on the job as an evil villain. What’s the first piece of mischief you commit?
Text Response
Follow up activities:
  • Use word clouds to review students answers anonymously as a group
  • Give students the option of sharing their answers with the class
  • Have students form groups of 3 and share their answers with each other
  • Try a different warm up question at the start of each class for the first few lessons in the semester to keep building momentum
Pro tip:

Icebreakers can be used at regular intervals throughout the year to increase engagement and participation. They also make good activities after a challenging period, such as around exams and testing, to reset the mood for learning.

The time taken on each activity can be adjusted by changing the types of questions or follow up approach to sharing responses.

Word clouds provide a quick, shareable way to review responses and offer a fast approach to engaging students.

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