Middle school teachers have a tough time figuring out what to do for icebreakers in their class. So many of the standard games require so much prep time that it’s impossible to fit them into a one-hour session during the first week of classes, let alone with all of your students.
So you decide to do something different. You might do something funny or silly, like a game of “Spot the Teacher”. Or you might go for something more dramatic and dramatic, like a “Life-and-Death” game. You could even do the old standby: “Which Teacher Would You Marry?” It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it’s memorable. Hope is not lost by any means! Middle school teachers usually have plenty of ideas for icebreakers.
Top 30 Middle School Icebreakers
1. Organization Race
Get each group of 2-4 people a slip of paper. On one side, put the name of a song, movie, TV show or band they have in common. Write their assigned number on the other side. Instruct them to have the person with the higher number on the slip call out their different choice to see which one wins. The winner is then allowed to give instructions for the next round.
2. Getting to Know You
Give your student some paper and have them write their name at the top, then draw (or scribble) a picture of themselves on the bottom. Have students give out facts about themselves (I like to ask some open ended questions: “What would you be if you could be an animal in the world?” “What do you want to do when you grow up?” or “What is your favorite place to go when you are not at school?”). Then your student can know their friend.
3. Group up
Have students form into pairs and give each one a slip of paper. Write a famous name of someone who has the same birthday as them (or within the same month/year) on one side, and a sport on the other. Tell students to come up with as many things as they can think of for the given topic.
4. Question Ball
Have students form into pairs and give each pair a ball. On one side of the ball, write a question (recent lesson, holiday, math problem etc…), and on the other side write an answer. Students will take turns to throw the ball to each other and do their best to be creative with your questions and answers.
5. Tic Tac Toe
Give your student some paper with their name written on top of it. Give them two pencils and two pieces of paper and tell them to draw a line in the middle. Have everyone place their pencil in the middle and see who can get their pencil to land first. (You could also have students write down random numbers on their piece of paper with a coin toss, then choose whichever number is written down on that piece of paper).
6. Tower Tumble
Give each group of students 6 small foam balls and 4 foam dice. On a piece of paper, write down numbers from 1 to 10 in order. Have students make a tower using the dice and foam balls (the higher the level, the more the tower is “taller” – so it makes sense when everyone reaches for their number). The person standing on top grabs one of the foam ball off their side and tries to roll it onto another side.
7. Step to the Truth
On a piece of paper, draw a large “T” and have students make it as tall as possible by stepping on each letter until the tower falls over. After each successful step, students should tell you something true about themselves (can you make the T completely filled in with their feet?).
8. I’ve Never
Have students form pairs (maybe 2 or 3 people to a group) and give each group a pencil and piece of paper. Tell them to write things they have never done before. You could go around and ask everyone too: “What has your group never done?” or “Have you seen a total eclipse?”
9. Butt Shuffle
Collect all the students in a circle and have them stand up with all their feet together. Have each person face in a different direction and have them stamp their feet on each other’s butts (the taller the tower, the harder it is to topple over).
10. Hot Potato
Give everyone one note card, and ask them to write down their name on it. Put a single hot potato in the middle of the room (it can be taped or stuck, this rubber one is perfect). Have students try to pass the hot potato around to each other, but they are not allowed to touch it with their hands. If you have time, you can see who can make a chain of 20+ people.
11. Tangled up
Give students a piece of string taped to their backs. The first student has their string going over their head and under one arm, the next student can then only go over the arms. Continue until the last person has to go around their neck and come out from underneath each leg.
12. Guess the Teacher
Divide students into groups of 3 people and have them take turns writing facts about themselves on slips of paper that contain something unique about them (favorite color, food, object). Have the other students close their eyes, spin around 3 times and then pick a slip. Whoever wrote it will try to describe themselves to the group without using any of the other slips as clues.
13. What’s in Your Pocket?
Have students open their wallets/purses, etc…and show everyone the contents inside (could be money, pictures, candy, keys). They then have to identify how many things are in that particular object and find out which person owns it.
14. I’m Famous
Make your students write down the names of three famous people (could be actors, athletes, or politicians). The first person has to describe one of them using one word. The next person then says who that famous person is and uses a keyword to describe themselves. The third person then tries to guess which famous person based on the other two clues.
15. Alphabet Race
Divide your class into random groups and give each group a piece of paper with letters on them (A B C etc…). Have each group write down a sentence with each letter in the correct order (so if they are assigned C, B, A they would write: “Birds can fly.”). After each group is finished, see which sentence gets the whole alphabet in the correct order.
16. Battle Scars
Draw a picture of yourself on paper (or a superhero from the newspaper) and have students write down 9 facts about themselves. You could also ask questions like: “What is your favorite food? What was your worst childhood memory? Who was your best friend in the 7th grade?”
17. Good with the Bad
Have students write down what they’re best/worst at. You could also ask questions like: “What’s the worst thing you did today? What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘dinosaur?'”
18. Would You Rather?
Give students some paper and a pencil and ask them to write down 3 things they would rather do than the other. You could also write part questions like: “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?” “If you must choose between being invisible or having all your hair fall out, which would you choose?” “If you could stop time for 20 seconds, what would you do?”
19. TP Tricks
Have students grab a tablecloth or some toilet paper, have them crumple it up and make an animal or person (could be anything: a horse, airplane, dinosaur, etc…). Then they have to tape it to the wall with scotch tape and just keep adding on until its very high (you can also make a contest out of this with who can make the tallest).
20. What Did You Say?
This one is usually played after dinner in most Chinese restaurants. Have students write down a random fact and then say out loud what the fact is when you ask them (this could be a bit silly: “If you were in a movie, what would your character’s profession be?”). You could also do an entire group saying it together.
21. Letter Tag
Have students grab a piece of paper and pencil and sit in a circle or use partners (they have to think of a word that starts with the letter they are holding). People then take turns trying to guess what word each person wrote.
22. Tell Me a Story
Have each student write down two things (could be about themselves or something inside the classroom). Then have them pick a partner and go around the room asking 5 questions about their story (examples: “What’s your favorite animal?” “Where is your house located?”). Then they turn their paper over and have to guess which story their partner is telling based on the answers they give.
Have the students write down a headline and a short article about the subject (examples: “Meerkat hates sunflower seeds”. “If you worked for a circus, what would you do for money?”). The students can then read out loud to each other or have partners try to say what newspaper they think it’s from.
24. Color Games
Have students write down a color and have them write down three things that match that color (can be anything: “Coconut” or “A pink elephant”). They can then try to guess which color the other person chose by asking them questions like: “Yes or No questions”. Can also have them hand you one thing at a time and try to guess what color it is.
25. The Worst Ever
Have students write down their worst experiences (could be something funny, embarrassing or scary) and have them pick out someone to read it to. Then that person asks yes or no questions trying to guess what happened.
Have students write down two things that don’t go together (examples: “Bananas and hot dogs”, “Foggy weather and summer”, “Cats and dogs”) and then have them find people in the class with opposing opinions and find out why they disagree.
27. Pass the Secret
Have students write down one thing that only one other student knows about them (examples: “You have a favorite band. One person in your family has been to jail”, “You have a secret talent or ability”). Then have them pick a partner and see if they can guess who it is by asking Yes or No questions.
28. Picture Talk
Have students take a picture of themselves using their camera phones/digital cameras (could be pictures from vacation, pictures of family or pets, pictures of each other). They have to think of five words that describe them based on those pictures and have to share them with a partner.
29. Murder Mystery
Have students write down their own facts about themselves and then form two lines facing each other. The first person says a sentence, the next person has to guess which fact it is based on a Yes or No question. Then they switch and the cycle continues until everyone has had to guess who the mystery person is.
30. Rock Idol
Have students write down a well known person or group and then write down three things about them (examples: “T.I is from Atlanta” or “Pink Floyd was a group of people”). Then have them pick someone else in the class and see who knows more about that person (if they don’t know why they should ask questions).