Ice Breaker, Crushed Ice, or Melting Ice?


How do I know you, let me count the ways? On the first day of class, ice breakers are a way of breaking the tension and creating an atmosphere of familiarity and commonality.  One of the more used ice breakers would be an exercise like BINGO where everyone is in motion to have his or her card signed by finding someone whose favorite color is blue, or born in February, or likes country music.  At best, an ice breaker exercise is superficial and non-threatening, and does break the ice.

What about crushed ice?  This exercise allows us to spend some quality time listening to another’s response in a more substantive way. On the first day of class when I take check as to who is in attendance, when I read the student’s name from the class roster, each student is to choose any two of the following to share with the rest of the class –

  1. What is your educational career or goal?
  2. What is a value you treasure or believe?
  3. What is a memorable experience you have had recently?
  4. What is a known or unknown fact about yourself?
  5. What is a question you have about this course?


What about melting ice?  This exercise can be used when small groups are formed to further create a sense of self and commonality.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. What type of music do you enjoy?
  2. What are some of your favorite leisure activities?
  3. What are your strengths and weaknesses relative to your study habits?
  4. Where were you born? What were you like growing up?
  5. How many siblings do you have? and where are you in the sibling order?
  6. Were your parents strict or lenient or a combination of both?
  7. Are you presently employed? By whom?  Do you enjoy your employment?
  8. What program are you pursuing, if not, what are your plans?
  9. What are your expectations for this course; what are your thoughts and feelings about taking a required general studies course?


Or, another form of crushed ice is to stimulate creative and imaginative thinking by way of association:

  1. Fondest memory
  2. Soundtrack
  3. Retreat
  4. Wildest dream
  5. Proudest moment
  6. Biggest challenge
  7. Alarm clock
  8. First job
  9. My Ambition
  10. Inspiration

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s