A cursory online search will reveal a myriad of icebreaker activities.
What you want to achieve
Icebreakers are fun activities designed to help people get to know one another. They can also be designed to allow students to become acquainted with course content and expectations, to raise energy levels during the class and to bring a class or activity to a conclusion.
Why Use Icebreakers?
Icebreakers have several benefits in the classroom. They can:
- Help to create a relaxed environment where students share ideas and participate more fully in the class.
- Encourage students to share ownership for the learning environment of the class.
- Build rapport among students and foster a productive learning environment.
- Prepare students for collaborative group work.
Considerations for Using Icebreakers
- What do you want to achieve with an icebreaker? Do you want to set the tone for the learning community or lead into course content in engaging ways?
- Think of your population in choosing or designing an activity. This includes group size, demographics, levels of knowledge, extent to which they know each other, reasons for being in your class, and more. For example, larger classes might need a simple activity and new classes may require a low-risk activity.
- Think through the activity ahead of time and adapt it accordingly. Will the space you have suffice? Do you have all needed supplies? Would the activity lead to issues of confidentiality? Does the activity accommodate varying abilities?
- Icebreakers do not always go exactly as planned. Flexibility and willingness to learn are part of building a positive and open learning community.