Sean Scanlon

New Take On an Old Ice Breaker Activity

Blog Post created by Sean Scanlon on May 9, 2014

Seed Icebreaker.jpg

This ice breaker a contribution that puts a new twist on an old ice breaker. In student teaching at Elizabethtown High School with Mr. Mark Anderson I took on a new semester of students in Greenhouse Management and Landscape Design from day 1. It was my goal to establish a rapport with the students to develop an atmosphere of a community of learners right out of the gate. Given my limited timeline at Elizabethtown I took a conventional ice breaker and developed it into a relevant experience for students enrolled in the class. The objective of this ice breaker activity is to establish a community of learners who know a little about each other and the teacher. A secondary objective is to give the teacher information to build a relationship with their students at stakeholders in the learning experience. I often used the information shared as part of my daily greeting or interaction, inquiring about how their dairying operation was going or whether they had to work the prior evening at the local pizza shop. These brief interactions developed a strong relationship and sense of caring engagement in their lives and the experience we were about to embark upon in the session that day.

Preparation is fairly simple requiring the attached Word document, at least four varieties of garden/crop seeds such as corn, oats, watermelon, cucumber, sunflower, etc. Seeds that might be familiar or are differentiated enough for someone not familiar with seeds to be able to identify similarities and ultimately the variety of seed. You will also need at least that many small plastic cups with a representative sample of seeds in them for display/handling. Final preparation requires small Ziploc baggies with  1-4 individual seeds in each baggie that correspond to the varieties on display and on their worksheet.

Instruct students to line up single file or use a station approach for them to identify the variety of seeds they have. Once completed instruct them to return to their seat and fill out the required information based upon the number of seeds they have in each baggie.

You can modify the attached word document to fit limitless course offerings with a little creativity. It worked great with the students in my class and got us all off on the right foot with engagement and enthusiasm. The benefits for me as the teacher were useful throughout the semester as I used the information to build my relationship with students as individuals in a strong community of learners. Have fun with it!