Do Nows: Benefits, Uses and 30 Example Questions

Ellen, Leading Teacher

In today's fast-paced educational landscape, teachers are constantly seeking effective strategies to maximize student engagement and promote active learning. 

One tried and true method is the implementation of "Do-Nows" in the classroom. A Do-Now, also known as a warm-up or bell-ringer, is a short activity or question presented at the beginning of each class session. 

In this article, we will explore the benefits of using Do-Nows, discuss various types of activities, and provide great questions to use for Do-Nows that settle students into learning.

Set the stage for learning

A Do Now sets the tone for the entire class period. By immediately engaging students upon entry, teachers establish a routine that signals the start of learning. This quick exercise not only focuses the students' attention but also serves as a transition from the distractions of the outside world to the focused learning environment. As a result, students become more receptive to instruction, enabling teachers to maximize valuable class time.

Promote critical thinking and problem-solving

Do Nows provide an excellent opportunity for teachers to challenge students' critical thinking skills. By presenting thought-provoking questions or scenarios, students are encouraged to analyze, evaluate, and think deeply about the subject matter. These activities not only stimulate their minds but also foster a sense of curiosity and inquiry that carries over into the rest of the lesson.

Reviewing previous learning

Do-Nows are an effective tool for reinforcing previously taught concepts. Through brief review activities, students can recall essential information and build connections between new material and prior knowledge. This process helps solidify learning, making it more likely for students to retain information in the long term.

Assessing understanding

As a formative assessment tool, Do-Nows provide teachers with valuable insights into their students' comprehension levels. By observing how students approach and respond to the activity, teachers can gauge their understanding and identify areas that may require additional reinforcement. This real-time feedback enables educators to tailor their instruction to better meet individual needs.

Fostering collaboration and discussion

Do-Nows can be designed to encourage collaboration among students. Group-based warm-up activities promote teamwork and communication skills, fostering a supportive learning community. Moreover, students often share their responses with their peers, leading to lively discussions that enrich the learning experience.

30 Questions to use for Do-Nows

These tasks can vary widely depending on the subject and grade level. Here are some questions you can use for do-nows across different subjects and grade levels:

Critical thinking/general:
  • What is one thing you're curious to learn more about in today's class?
  • Imagine you could interview a historical figure. What would you ask them?
  • Reflect on a recent news article and share your thoughts.
  • Brainstorm as many uses as you can for a common household item.
  • Solve a riddle or lateral thinking puzzle.
  • Remember, the goal of a do-now is to activate students' prior knowledge, get them engaged, and set a positive tone for the lesson. The questions you choose should align with your teaching objectives and the content you're covering.
English/Language Arts:
  • Define the literary term we discussed in the previous class.
  • Write a sentence using today's vocabulary word.
  • Summarize the reading assigned for homework in two to three sentences.
  • Identify a simile or metaphor in the passage provided.
  • Write a brief response to a thought-provoking quote related to our current unit.
  • Solve a simple equation or math problem related to the topic we're studying.
  • Identify geometric shapes in the given diagram and name their properties.
  • Calculate the area/perimeter/volume of the given shape.
  • Simplify the algebraic expression provided.
  • Solve a word problem that applies concepts we've learned recently.
  • Describe an experiment you conducted in the previous class and its results.
  • List three characteristics of living organisms.
  • Explain a scientific concept using your own words.
  • Draw and label the parts of a cell/molecule/organ system.
  • Predict the outcomes of a simple chemical reaction based on the reactants involved.
Social Studies/History:
  • Identify the main events we discussed in the last class.
  • Describe the significance of a historical figure we're currently studying.
  • List two causes and two effects of a specific historical event.
  • Compare and contrast two different civilizations or time periods.
  • Analyze a primary source document excerpt and discuss its implications.
Foreign Language:
  • Translate a sentence from English to the target language.
  • Write a short paragraph about your weekend plans using vocabulary we've learned.
  • Conjugate a verb according to the provided tense and subject.
  • Identify the correct gender and article for a given noun.
  • Create a dialogue using key phrases related to a specific scenario.


The integration of Do-Nows in the classroom offers a range of benefits, ranging from increased engagement and critical thinking to improved collaboration and time management. As educators, we have the power to shape our students' learning experiences, and the strategic use of Do-Nows can significantly impact their academic journey.

Ziplet creates an easy way to conduct Do-Nows. Create your free Ziplet account and try out one of these questions with your students. Having all student responses in one place makes it easy to review and take action for the class ahead.

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