You let us know loud and clear… You want icebreakers!

In that spirit, we’re sharing three additional icebreakers for college courses, submitted by Cengage Learning Faculty Partners Essie Childers, Mary Margarita Legner, and Solomon Willis. Check out their fun ideas and try them out in your own courses!

More terrific icebreakers for college courses, submitted by our Faculty Partners

One icebreaker that I use almost every semester is called “Human Bingo.” Students are like robots on the first day going from class to class listening to the so-called boring syllabus. The icebreaker, “Human Bingo” gets students up and moving about the classroom. I simply organize questions on a document similar to a Bingo card as shown in the example below. The object of the game is to give the class three minutes to collect signatures from the classmates who can identify with the statement or question in the square. Students can sign their name only once on the sheet. Some questions or statements that I have used in the past are: “I have never been in an accident.” “I have met someone famous.” “Who has travelled outside of the United States?” “Who has a birthday on Xmas Day?” “Who has five siblings?” “Who exercises 3 times a week?” I generate at least 25 non-threatening questions. Students have fun and immediately begin to feel a sense of inclusion in the classroom. And the best part is that I always have prizes for the two students who have collected the most signatures.

Download Essie Childers’ “Human Bingo” card!
—Essie Childers, Blinn College
Introduction Thread (Due Friday of the first week of class)
This is your opportunity to introduce yourself to your classmates. Tell a little about yourself and why you chose to take this math course online/hybrid as opposed to the traditional course in the classroom. When was your last Math class? Finally, discuss how this class is related to your educational goals and major. Feel free to respond to your classmates’s posts. This is a great place to encourage each other!!!
—Mary Margarita Legner, Riverside City College
In my seated math classes, I often give a first day of “quiz” that contains roughly four to six multiple choice questions that serve as “preview” questions of concepts that will be covered in the course. These are generally conceptual type questions that involve some critical thinking. Each question has four possible answers: A, B, C, or D. I label each corner of the room with a letter, and starting with the first question, students move around to the appropriate corner based on what they think the correct answer is. While in their small groups, I encourage them to talk about the question and also find someone to introduce themselves to and find something that they have in common. We then move through the other questions as students move around the room to various corners based on their answers. In a class of twenty to thirty students, usually everyone has found someone they can later introduce to the class and we also discuss what the correct answers were to each question. Interestingly enough, the questions are picked so that there is usually quite a distribution across the possible answer choices. This especially works well for North Carolina’s new Quantitative Literacy class and I have to admit that I adapted this idea from a workshop I attended on how to teach this class.
—Solomon Willis, Cleveland Community College