last year i brought in a box of apples. when the students were sat down i threw them all over the floor. i instructed each student to find an apple. take two minutes and write down everything they can about the apple then put it back into my box. collect the papers and hand them out to other students. then they had to find the apple that matched the description. the first one correct got a homework pass. i linked it to scientific methods, paying close attention in class, making correct observations. they loved it. i wish i could do it again this year but they will all know what is going on.
I have a bunch of paper bags and write the names of the groups on them. In each paper bag is a ton of random things (paper plates, newspaper, nails, plastic cups, fasteners, balloons, etc) each bag has the same things in them. I spread out the tables in my room and tell the kids to go and get their paper bag and sit with the group of kids on the bag.
They then have about 20 minutes to make something out of the stuff in the bag. Each group has an arm length of tape and some glue. They also get one pair of scissors. I leave extra materials out around the room, but I don't tell the kids they can use them. I tell them that I am not allowed to answer any questions or talk to them during the 20 minutes.
When we are done, I have the groups share what they have made. I write down interesting comments that I hear during the activity and we talk about them. I then ask the kids what they could have used to make this activity easier. They say : More tape,extra scissors, etc. I point out that those materials were in the room the whole time, and all they had to do was get up and use them. I make the connection that the activity is like our Ag Program-- there are lots of choices, and opportunities for you--- you just have to have the guts to stand up and go get them!
I love the apple and the bag idea. So creative!
I will sometimes do an Ag Department scavenger hunt. You can make this as detailed or as simple as you wish. I have attached one of the scavenger hunt sheets I use. I change it if I use it for more than one class. The younger students really love it and the older students get into it too. Sometimes they simply have to find and answer questions within the room other times they have a mixture of answering questions and finding/bringing back objects. It usually takes 20-30 minutes and then we discuss and share. I try and have a prize, like released a minute early, for the first one done correctly.
Here is also a link to a CoP post relating to Icebreaker games from a couple of months ago. I thought you might be interested.
Have an awesome first day!