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Icebreaker: Coat of Arms

This material was originally created for On the Cutting Edge: Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.
Martin Balinsky, Florida A&M University
Course: Earth and Space Science for pre-service and inservice teachers
26 students
An icebreaker is an activity that helps students (and instructor) to get to know each other, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

The Activity

In this ice-breaker the students creat their "coat of arms" on a piece of paper. They divide the paper into four parts and draw pictures in each corner to represent:
  1. Their favorite place
  2. Their favorite activity
  3. What they hope to get out of this class
  4. Their name.

I then tell them to crumple up their paper and throw them at me. This right away breaks the ice as it makes them laugh. I then pick up the first piece of paper and call the student up to the front. I introduce them to the class, attempting to interpret their drawings (no words are allowed). They can assist me with this interpretation. Once we are done I ask them to pick up a piece of paper and introduce someone else. This proceeds until all, including me, have been introduced. This activity sets the tone for the semester as a friendly atmosphere that is not so serious as to be dull.

Additional Information

I learned this icebreaker while a graduate student at the University of South Carolina.