The list below represents what a group of experienced UVic Teaching Assistants (TAs) have identified as icebreaker (or community building) activities to use in the classroom as a TA. Not all suggestions below may be applicable in all departments on campus. Please use the list as a guide only as this list is not exhaustive but encompasses a diverse array of qualities.

Icebreakers are an important activity for building community in the classroom, including if the bulk of our interactions are conducted in the online environment. Icebreakers can take a minimal amount of time or could be incorporated into learning activities. The list below provides suggestions for differing types of icebreakers and icebreaker questions. Enjoy the activities and the success these bring to building community in your classroom!

    Getting to know one another and setting the classroom culture

    Have students’ pair-up and have one introduce the other to the class

    You can suggest they find out what their favourite food is, or what sports they are interested in. Another example is to go around the class with each person introducing all the other members in the class that have already been introduced. The first person introduces themselves. The second introduces the first student and then themselves. Each subsequent person introduces all the previously introduced students and themselves.

    Learn more about your class

    • Where are they from?
    • What language(s) do they speak?
    • Have they studied this subject before?
    • What would they like to get out of this course?

    Two Truths and a Lie

    Each person tells three things about themselves, but one is a lie. Everyone else must guess which of the three is the lie. This is a great icebreaker to get to know some interesting facts about people. 

    Name Game

    Students take a few seconds to think about their name – who they are named after, what their name means, etc. They then tell that story, and this helps people remember names more easily.


      Take index cards and write a major city in the world on one card and a major attraction from that city on another card. Do this for as many cities as needed for half the class. One half of the class gets a card with a city name on it and the other half gets a card with a major attraction from that city written on it. The class then must find who in the room is their match and introduce themselves to one another.

      Delving deeper to build community with questions

      Question Ring: start off with a question and the next person must construct a question that is about your question. The question construction continues around the whole room, with each subsequent question addressing the question posed before.


      • If you were left on a deserted island with either your worst enemy or no one, which would you choose? Why?
      • If you were famous, what would you be famous for?
      • What season would you be?
      • If you could spend time together with any cartoon character, who would you choose and why?
      • If you could be any supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
      • If you could rename yourself, what name would you pick?
      • If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you choose to be?
      • If you could have any animal for a pet, what would it be?
      • If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
      • What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?
      • What is your cellphone wallpaper and why?
      • You can have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what is it? Sushi? Scotch Tape?
      • Pick a picture on your phone/Instagram that you are comfortable sharing. Tell us about it!

      For more fun questions, refer to this resource.

      This guide was developed during the Teaching Assistant Consultants’ (TACs) seminars for the academic year 2009-2010 and updated in 2020-2021.

      About this post

      This post was last updated:

      August 9, 2022

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