Programme Session Details 2024

How much does a polar bear weigh? A practical session on icebreakers

Corresponding Author: Jess Napthine-Hodgkinson

All authors:

Length: 30 minutes


Icebreaker activities are great. Unless they are done badly in which case they range from cringe-inducing to actively chaotic and detrimental to the learning environment.

As an HE professional with 18 years experience as an improviser, I want to help everyone kick their lectures/meetings/events off right with icebreaker activities that engage and energise their participants to create the right atmosphere for learning, creativity and collaboration.

In this 30 minute session, we will look at a variety of icebreakers and how/when to use them based on:
Group size – selecting or adapting exercises for small or large groups
Physical environment – using the layout to our advantage whether it’s a meeting room or a lecture theatre
Audience – matching the exercise to learners’ playfulness thresholds and expectations

There will be the opportunity to try out some of these in various group sizes as well as to talk through other exercises. For maximum flexibility, we will focus on exercises that do not require any physical resources.

Participants in this session will leave with a catalogue* of practical exercises with variations and usage tips that they can delight learners/colleagues/friends with in a variety of settings.

*This will be a digital resource as well as living in their hearts and minds forever.

References, web links and other resources: