Break the Ice: 4 Favorite Activities from the LA Staff

Posted by Emily Weisberg on August 11, 2015

Building on our webinar for creating a safe, reflective classroom community, this week each LA Program staff member of Facing History and Ourselves has shared their favorite community-building activity. Here is our final activity - rounding out our set of four!

One of my favorite go-to activities is “Human Bingo.” It takes a little work on the front end but provides a great platform for a group to learn more about one another in a guided, fun way.

The Goal: Participants move around the room, trying to cross off enough Bingo Squares to earn Bingo. Each square has a question or piece of information (i.e. "I own pets” or “I have traveled outside the country”) and the goal is to find people who match each square.

Step One

Create the Bingo Board. One of things I like most about Human Bingo is the ability to tailor it to the specific group with whom you’ll be playing. If you’re creating a board for colleagues as part of a team building exercise or using the strategy to help students meet each other on the first day of school, the board should reflect the interests and age range of the participants.

Bingo square


TIP: If the prompt is something like “I’ve traveled outside the US,” make sure to include “where?” on the square. We want the squares to spark conversation and connection!

For making the grid itself, there are some "bingo card generator" sites to help or you can simply use a table in any word processing or spreadsheet program.

Step Two

When you’ve distributed the boards, make sure to remind participants that, for each square they cross off, they need to have spoken to a new person; you can’t use the same person for two squares or to get an entire row of squares to earn Bingo!

Bingo cardStep Three

Once someone has yelled “Bingo” the “Bingo Getter” has to share with the group which person was responsible for each square. Let participants know that from the very beginning. This final step gives the room a chance to learn who has done the fun/interesting/surprising activities listed on your board.

If you’d like to debrief after the activity, you can ask the following of your participants:

  1. What’s one thing you learned about someone that really surprised you?
  2. Did you discover something you have in common with someone else?


Click here to see all the posts in this series, and share your favorite activities below!

Join us tomorrow for our next webinar with Connected Learning TV in the month-long series: Creating Upstanders in Today's World.For more information about the series and to see the first webinar, Creating a Safe, Reflective Classroom, click here.

Topics: Safe Schools, Teaching Strategy, Breaking the Ice

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