Four icebreakers to get students talking

A new semester calls for new faces, personalities, and students in class. This semester we are focusing on icebreakers that will allow you to start conversations. We highly recommend you start this semester by encouraging introductions regardless of the size of a class.

You might wonder, why should I start class with icebreakers?

According to the Balance Careers blog, icebreakers play a significant role in events where communication and participants’ level of comfort are important. Hint, this is where we want students to be in class. If students’ comfort is high in a course, they tend to participate and engage with the material a lot better.

Icebreakers that will help students get to know the course

Icebreaker #1: True or false

Duration: 5-minutes

Create 2-3 quick participation polls inside CampusKnot before class starts. Make sure you create questions or statements about yourself (e.g., your degrees, research focus, years teaching, pet names, etc.).

Publish your poll during the first few minutes of class. Students are encouraged to select an answer. Once you’ve deployed all polls, you can start class by introducing yourself and then sharing the plan for the semester.

Icebreaker #2: Interviews

Duration: 10-minutes to a few days

This activity can take place after the first or second week of classes. Create an open-ended poll inside CampusKnot and add points. Tip: make sure you select ‘participation poll’ inside points so that no matter what the student’s answer is, they are rewarded for participating.

Ask students to type two interview questions about the class content they’re responsible for covering during the semester. You can then use this pool of questions to start discussion posts during the semester.

Icebreakers that encourage students to work with one another

Icebreaker #1: The one-word icebreaker game

Duration: 8-minutes

This icebreaker is a quick way for group members to talk to one another. Make sure students are in groups. Inside the CampusKnot feed, create a post. Here is where you can get creative. An example for a post/question is “What is one word that your team would use to describe our class this semester?”

All team members must get together and come up with a one-word answer to your question. One of the team members is then responsible for posting inside the CampusKnot feed on the team’s behalf. This icebreaker is quick and straightforward and will allow students to talk without spending extra time out of the lecture.

Icebreaker #2: Whodunit

Duration: 15-minutes

Split your students into groups. Have each person write down one interesting fact about them (e.g., made the school soccer team, have lived in 5 different states, bikes to campus every day, etc.)

Get all students within each group to write and fold their fun facts. One of the team members will be responsible for collecting all answers. This activity will need each person to pick out a piece of paper and read it to the rest of the group. The student must then try to guess “whodunit” and why they came up with that conclusion.

Whether you have 25-students or 500, these sets of icebreakers will sure spark discussion and build rapport amongst your students. Start engaging your class with CampusKnot; it’s free!


  1. Ice-Breaker Activities to use in Your First-Year Student Induction. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  2. 11 Icebreaker Games for Work Your Team Will Love, Li from

Ana Gonzalez

Ana Gonzalez was born and raised in Panamá. She is a student, turned educator. She loves learning new languages and writing about how education can be innovative and dynamic when implementing the right teaching methods.