What is your favourite icebreaker or first day of school activity?
My first day of school with my classes actually happens in June not August with the exception of the new S1. So some of these icebreakers and first day activities I have already done this year.
I like to start classes with a problem solving task. This gives me great insight into how well the pupils follow instructions, tackle a problem, work with each other, communicate results and engage with a challenge.
Here are some of the different problem solving tasks I like to set:
The Handshake Problem
Draw a 5 by 5 grid.
1. Place 13 counters. Arrange them on the grid so there is an odd number of counters in each row and column and the two main diagonals.
2. Place 10 counters. Arrange them on the grid so there is an even number of counters in each row and column and the two main diagonals.
I also like to play a few number games. I always like to get a feel for the numeracy skills of the pupils.
Here is an example:
This is a game for 2 players. Each player writes down two numbers between 1 and 10 on a piece of paper, making sure not to reveal their numbers to the other player.
Then both players reveal their numbers and try to make the target of 24 by using a combination of operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and brackets). The winner is the first player to find a solution.
The files for the Handshake Problem and Pentominoes can be found here.