Ice Breaker Activities

Ice Breakers to Promote Belonging

Examples shared by the University of Wisconsin include:

  • Personal Introductions - students are asked to talk about their professional interests, goals for the course, personal interests, etc. One option is to have students develop video introductions in Canvas.

  • Eight nouns - students use eight nouns that best describe themselves.

  • Five pictures - students create a collage of five pictures that best describe themselves.

  • Two truths and a lie - students must post two truths about themselves and one lie and classmates have to guess which item is untrue.

Examples shared by Georgetown University include:

Used by Center for Social Justice Team- 28 slides for virtual Ice Breakers

Examples shared on the blog, Leveraging e-Learning, include:

  • One word - students share one word that best describes them and post it in a discussion forum.

  • Things - students share an image that reflects why they’re taking the course or that represents them.

Examples shared by the University of Michigan include:

  • Grab bag- variety of activities to choose from and implement throughout the semester.

  • Name Story- In this icebreaker activity, students will have the option to share their first name, middle name, last name, nickname or any name that has a history or story such as the name of a pet or nickname given to a friend or family member.

  • 5 Minute Poem-In this activity, students spend five minutes writing a brief four-stanza poem about where they are from.

  • Web of Connectedness-In this activity, the class sits in a circle while the facilitator poses a discussion question or questions. A ball of yarn, twine, or string is passed to each person who speaks. After a participant speaks, they hold on to part of the string and pass or toss the ball to the next speaker. By the discussion’s end, the string will form a web between the students, showing who spoke.

Examples shared by the Academy of Art University include:

  • Common ground (for Zoom) - groups (4-6 learners) have 5 minutes to write a list of everything they all have in common.

  • Burning questions - students write 1-3 “burning questions” they have about the course.

  • Forced analogies – the instructor posts two seemingly unrelated nouns and students have to post as many similarities or connections between them as possible.

Examples shared by the Poll Everywhere

  • 50 examples that use Poll Everywhere to help people get to know each other