15 Icebreakers For High School Students

It is usually challenging trying to provide ice-breaking activities for high school students. You will have to put into consideration, certain factors like the students’ moods, group dynamics, and comfort level before carrying out any game. The good thing is that there are diverse icebreaker games you can choose from for high school students, with some of them being crazy and fun and others calm and relaxing.

In this article, we will bring the top icebreakers for high school that you can make your choice from.

What Is An Icebreaker?

An icebreaker is a quick activity adapted into the classroom to help the students and their teacher get to know one another. It can be used at the beginning of a new session or term to bridge the gap between the previous course activities and the new one. The teacher should make the icebreakers fun for the students because the major aim is to get the students to feel at ease in the classroom. Icebreakers are also called warmer activities.

Ensure to come up with new and creative ideas for the students. The world is evolving and so are icebreakers. Look for the current games that will be able to adapt to the goal of the classroom. Do not use outdated ideas for the classroom as they will be alien to the students, except they are relevant to the topic at hand.

Types of Icebreakers

Before starting any icebreaker, you must understand the category they fall into to be able to choose right. Below are some types of icebreakers.

  • Questions and short answers: this type involves the teacher asking the students some questions which require short answers. You must have a variety of questions to help you in getting more information from the students.
  • Personal: this icebreaker focuses on the individual students. When you divide the students into groups, you use personal icebreakers to help the group know one another and get connected on a more personal level.
  • Small groups: this type of icebreaker does not need a large group. It is best fitted for classroom activities where the students may not be much.

Large groups: this type of icebreaker involves more people to make it fun. You can divide the group into teams to give you the desired outcome.

  • Guessing games: there are different types of guessing games. They are extremely fun to adopt because it gives the students the ability to think deeply before releasing their answers.
  • Age-based game: age of the participants must be considered when performing icebreakers. This is to ensure inclusiveness. For instance, there are icebreakers for high school students and there are some for elementary school pupils as well as adults. You must check the age of the participants before picking any ice-breaking game for them.

15 Icebreaking Activities for High School Students

Here are some top icebreakers high school students may find fun to participate in:

1. Snowball fight

In this case, each student is given a piece of paper to put down five facts about themselves. After that, they should wad the paper and begin a snowball fight. After some time, let them pick the snowball closest to them, read the facts and try to find out whose snowball is that by asking only yes or no questions. The first student to do so is the winner. However, offer every one of them the opportunity to get involved.

2. Hidden identity 

Let each student write the name of any popular person. Collect the papers as you tape one to the back of each student without their knowing who they have. The children should go around the classroom, asking the name of the famous man that is taped to their back. They can only ask one question to each person. The student who guesses their famous person wins the game.

3. Shake

Shake is an excellent icebreaker. You will select a leader who gives instructions that the class must follow. For instance, the leader can say “Shake, shake, shake your foot!” Next, the leader can say “Freeze!” This should keep going on as the leader commands the part of the body to be shaken and adding they should freeze.

4. Street and alley

The students should line up in rows and form a rectangle as a result. Let one student be “It” and chases after another. Let others put their arms at shoulder height forming “Streets” and if they raise the arm to the same height but this time, front to back, they should be able to form “alleys”. The person being chased after should run through the maze of people, starting with the street and switching to alleys. When they get tired, pick another set.

5. Drop the ball

The game should start by dividing the students into smaller groups. Each group should have 12 straws, 18 inches of masking tape, and a game of golf. The aim is to build a container that can catch a golf ball that is dropped from about 2 feet. Each group should select their golf dropper who stands on a chair and holds the ball at eye level, while each container is placed on the ground. Let each group make three attempts to throw the ball into the container and the first to get the ball into the container wins.

6. Close shave

The aim is to have many balloons and shave them. Blow up as many balloons as possible. Then, apply shaving cream on them and ask the students to shave. If each ball is shaven and bursts, it will splatter the cream all over, making a mess of the whole place. They can clean up later.

7. Venn diagrams for partners

Let the students break up into pairs and give them premade Venn diagram templates. Give them between 10 to 15 minutes to fill the Venn diagrams with stuff they and their partner have in common as well as things they do not have in common. Let each pair present their Venn diagram to the class.

8. Would you rather (school version)

Students are already used to the game. Let the whole class get involved. Prepare a list of themed “Would you rather questions”. For instance:

  • Would you rather go home today after others are all gone or at the right time?
  • Would you rather have a few students in the class or have a class filled with many students?
  • Would you rather have a teacher every term or have the same teacher throughout your academic stay?

Read out the questions loud and let the students make their choices by raising their hands and providing the answers. Then, let a representative explain the meaning of their answer.

9. Find my name

Create a word search puzzle with the names of the students in your class. Make a roll call of their names and let them write each name that they heard. Then, give them 10 to 15 minutes to search for and circle the names that they heard on the word search. The person that got the highest number wins the game.

10. Dice breakers game

Separate the students into groups of between four and eight. Give them a die and a sheet each with six questions that match up to the six die numbers (1-6). Let each student in each group roll the die and ask the rest of the group the matching-up questions. Below is a sample of the questions that could be asked:

  • What is the activity you enjoy partaking in?
  • If you could choose any food in the world, what would it be?
  • What memory would you want to have about your birthday this year?
  • What book would you rather read during the coming summer?
  • What major would you focus on during your college?
  • What special day would you like to experience often?

11. What do you love?

This game is like the students getting to know one another. The objective is to get the students to guess the favorites of their classmates. Let each student have a pen (pencil) and paper. Let them write their names and favorites on topics you provide. For instance, games, books, movies, sports, or athletes. Take all the papers from them and read out the answers. Let the students guess whom each answer belongs to. You can give points to each correct answer and score their performance. If you have a very large class, you can separate them into teams and score them according to each team.

12. The observation game

Let the students be lined up in two columns that face each other. This makes the opposite students become a partner. Let them take 30 seconds to look their partner over and observe every detail they can. After that, let one of the rows of students face the other way, while the students in the other change something about themselves. Let’s say, one of them could adjust the bowtie in a funny way or another unbutton their shirt. Now, get the students who turned away to turn around and guess what each partner changed about themselves. Do the same thing again but this time each group will switch roles.

13. Self-portrait

Let the students draw themselves on cardboard. Hang each of the drawings where the whole class can see them. Let the students guess whom each portrait belongs to.

14. Birthday lineup

Call out any month of the year and let the students born in that month line up at the front of the classroom. Let them stand according to their dates in that month. Call out another month but this time, reshuffle the dates. Have the students stand according to their dates even though you did not call it out in order. This helps them work together and know one another. Check if they stood accordingly and give the group that got it a pat on the shoulder.

15. Sit down the circle

This is a physical activity but it is fun to perform. Ask the students to form a big circle and tell them to stand as close to one another as they can. This can only work depending on their proximity. Let them sit on the knees of the student behind them. As they are all seated, let them move forward around in circles and ensure not to break the sit-down chain. They may not get it at the first trial but subsequent ones will see them getting better. 

Benefits of Icebreakers for High School Students

There are several benefits you can derive from ice-breaking games if you use them correctly. Some of them include:

  • They help to create an atmosphere of relaxation and enable the students to become more engaging in the class activities. 
  • The students learn to share ownership for the learning atmosphere of the class.
  • Students learn to engage in partnership and collaborative learning.
  • Icebreakers instil the spirit of understanding in the students and get them to know one another on a closer level. 

What To Consider Before Using Icebreakers for High School Students

Before participating in any ice-breaking games, you must consider the following:

  • Your goals. You must have a goal to achieve and the goal will decide the best game to involve.
  • Consider the population of the class before selecting any game. Some games can only be fun if the class is large and some can only work if you separate the students into different teams. Aside from the group size, consider their level of knowledge, space in the class as well as the general objective of the class.
  • You do not just select the game, take your time to think through the icebreaking activity you want to adapt to make the right choice. Make certain to have all the needed equipment and tools for the game, except the ones that do not require tools.
  • Consider that sometimes, the breaker may not go as planned. For instance, if it is a difficult game, the students may not always get it right. However, flexibility and time will help them to adjust well.

Getting Started with Icebreakers

Before you start the game, you need to:

  1. Introduce the game to the class and explain why you choose that particular one.
  2. Give the class a timeframe for the activity and when it is over, indicate by ringing the bell, turning off the light, and so on.
  3. Help the students find their partners. You should know them better and understand the best pairs and groups in the class. For instance, you can match a shy student with an outspoken one. But if you leave them, the outspoken ones may not want to pair with the shy ones. By doing so, you have involved equity and inclusiveness while acknowledging their diversities.
  4. Brief them on the activity and arouse their interest.
  5. Indicate who will start first. Most times, extroverted students should start first in order to charge up the environment.

Conclusion

Icebreakers are fun activities. High school students will benefit from the game because it will help them to get to know their peers better. It also helps the students to easily adapt to the course content. As the teacher, the onus is on you to make them love the game. Do not sit and watch them do it; get involved. By so doing, your goals will tick off for you.

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