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  • Writer's pictureAndroy Bruney

8 Science Ice breaker Activities for back to School Season


8 Ice Breaker or Brain Break Activities for Science Class

The start of a new school year brings fresh faces, new challenges, and endless opportunities for engaging your students. One effective way to build a positive and collaborative classroom environment is through ice breakers. These activities not only help students get to know each other but also foster teamwork and critical thinking. Here are eight science-themed ice breakers perfect for middle and high school students.



Lab Equipment Scavenger Hunt For Science Class Ice Breaker

Kick off the school year by familiarising your students with the lab equipment they'll be using throughout the year. In this scavenger hunt, students solve clues to locate different lab apparatus. As they find each item, they’ll copy a code. These codes will later be used to decipher a cryptogram featuring a science slogan.


Objective: To help students become familiar with lab equipment and their locations.


Instructions:

  • Organize students into teams and give each team a set of 12 clues written as riddles.

  • Teams solve each clue to find a specific piece of lab equipment.

  • Once an apparatus is located, students will find a code next to it, which they must copy down on they answer sheet.

  • After all codes are collected, teams use them to decipher a cryptogram that reveals a science slogan or message.


Benefits: This activity encourages teamwork, enhances problem-solving skills, and reinforces knowledge of lab equipment. It also helps students learn to navigate the lab space, making them more comfortable and confident during future experiments.



There is a Lab Safety Version of this team activity where instead of hunting for lab apparatus, students hunt for lab safety equipment such as the fire extinguisher, eye wash station, personal protection equiment. This is a fun and engaging activity not only to promote team work but to introduce ( or review) lab safety.



Lab Safety Scavenger Hunt

Science Taboo Game

Reinforce science vocabulary with Science Taboo. In this game, students guess science terms without using certain taboo words.


Objective: To reinforce science vocabulary and encourage creative thinking.


Instructions:

  • Each set of cards, contains a science term at the top and three taboo words underneath that cannot be used in the description.

  • Divide students into teams.

  • One student from a team draws a card and must describe the science term to their teammates without using the taboo words. For example, for the term "photosynthesis," taboo words might be "plant," "sunlight," and "chlorophyll."

  • Set a time limit for each round, and allow the team to guess as many terms as possible within that time.

  • Rotate to the next team and repeat the process.


There are 20 Taboo cards for each discipline ( Biology, Chemistry and Physics) . You can use the entire deck or limit to a specific discipline. You can also remove terms and topics your students may not have encountered.


Benefits: This activity enhances vocabulary, promotes quick thinking, and encourages teamwork. It also helps students learn to explain scientific concepts in different ways, deepening their understanding.



Fact or Fiction Science Ice Breaker Activity

Engage your students' critical thinking with a fun game of Fact or Fiction. Present a series of science trivia statements and have students determine if they are true or false. Teams compete to see who can get the most correct answers.


Objective: To challenge students' scientific knowledge and critical thinking.


Instructions:

  • Divide the class into small teams.

  • Each team (or each student is given a Fact or fiction sheet which features 10 scientific statement.

  • Teams are given a set amount of time to discuss and decide whether the statement is fact or fiction.

  • Review the answers and tally the scores.

  • The team with the most correct answers wins.

Benefits: This activity promotes critical thinking, encourages teamwork, and sparks curiosity about scientific facts. It’s a great way to introduce students to new and surprising information, stimulating their interest in various science topics.




Science Emoji Pictionary

Combine emojis and science in this engaging activity. Students work in groups to decode science terms depicted by three emojis. The team with the most correct answers wins.


Objective: To enhance students' understanding of science vocabulary in a fun and engaging way.


Instructions:

  • Create a list of science terms and represent each with three emojis. For example, 🌡️🧪= thermometer, and 🧬= DNA.

  • Organize students into small groups and provide each group with the same list of emoji clues.

  • Groups work together to figure out the science terms depicted by the emojis.

  • Set a time limit for the activity.

  • The team with the most correct answers at the end of the time limit wins.


Benefits: This activity encourages creativity, reinforces science vocabulary, and promotes teamwork. It also provides a light-hearted way to introduce or review scientific terms, making learning more memorable.




Build rapport among your students with Concentric Circles, an activity where students discuss getting-to-know-you questions in rotating pairs. We left out any personal questions that might make students feel awkward, so they probably won't think this activity is cheesy.

Concentric Circles Ice breaker slides

Objective: To build classroom community and encourage peer interactions.


Instructions:

  • Arrange students in two concentric circles facing each other, ensuring each student in the inner circle has a partner in the outer circle.

  • Present the slides with the two minute timers which include questions such as: " If You could only eat three foods for a year which three foods would you choose?" ; " What is your favorite family tradition?" and " What do you consider to be the greatest thing ever invented"

  • Give students two minutes to discuss it with their partner.

  • After two minutes, the outer circle rotates one position to the right, and a new question is asked.

  • Continue until all students have had the chance to interact with several peers.


Benefits: This activity builds rapport among students, fosters communication skills, and ensures everyone interacts with multiple peers. It helps create a friendly and inclusive classroom atmosphere from the start.



Science Student Ice Beakers

In this twist on a classic ice breaker, students are presented with two true science-related statements and one false one. Each team works to identify the lie.


Objective: To engage students in critical thinking and scientific discussion.


Instructions:

  • Each slide contains two scientific facts and one false statement.

  • Each group of students are given 30 seconds to discuss which statement is the lie. Ask students to write out their answers on a white board or sheet of paper and hold up their answers at the same time to prevent students from changing answers after seeing that of another group.

  • Groups that correctly guessed the lie earn 1 point.


Science Two Truths and A lie

Benefits: This activity fosters critical thinking, encourages discussion, and helps students learn interesting science facts. It also allows students to share their knowledge and learn from each other in an interactive way.



Encourage ethical reasoning with Where Do You Stand. This interactive exercise presents students with various ethical dilemmas related to scientific topics and asks them to take a stance. By debating and discussing these scenarios, students engage with the material in a meaningful way.


Objective: To develop critical thinking and ethical reasoning.


Instructions:

  • Present a controversial science prompt, such as " Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) should be used in food production" or "Animal is testing justified for medical research"

  • Mark areas on the floor for different stances: strongly agree, agree, somewhat agree, disagree, and strongly disagree.

  • Students move to the area that represents their stance.

  • Within each group, students discuss their reasons for choosing that stance.

  • Each group selects a spokesperson to share their discussion with the class.


Science Ethics Game

Benefits: This activity promotes ethical reasoning, encourages respectful debate, and helps students articulate their viewpoints. It also exposes students to different perspectives and fosters an environment of open-mindedness and critical analysis.




Famous Scientists guess who Game

The famous scientists Guess Who cards can be played using the rules of the classical game. However, these cards can also be used as an icebreaker or a brain break activity to liven up the science class by having students guess each person's scientific figure through a series of questions.


Objective: To engage students in a fun and interactive activity that enhances their knowledge of famous scientists and their contributions while promoting critical thinking, communication, and collaborative skills.


Instructions:

  • Create a list of famous scientists and display it on the board or project it on a screen for all students to see.

  • Each student pair is given a card featuring a famous scientist. Each card includes key information about the scientist, such as their major discoveries and contributions.

  • Students walk around the classroom, interacting with their peers to ask questions and gather clues about the scientist on their card.

  • Questions should be designed to narrow down the possibilities, such as "Did your scientist contribute to the field of physics?" or "Is your scientist known for discovering a fundamental principle?"

  • When a student correctly identifies the scientist on another student's card, they collect that card.

  • The student or team that collects the most scientist cards by the end of the game wins.

  • Timing Option:

  • Optionally, set a timer for each round, giving students one minute to ask questions before moving on to the next peer.


Benefits:

  • Students must use deductive reasoning to ask the right questions and identify the scientist.

  • The game encourages students to interact with each other, asking and answering questions effectively.

  •  By working in pairs or small groups, students learn to collaborate and share information to achieve a common goal.

  • The game serves as an entertaining ice breaker or brain break, energizing the class and making learning enjoyable


Conclusion

Starting the school year with these ice breakers can set a positive tone for the months ahead. They not only help students get to know each other but also foster a collaborative and engaging learning environment. Adapt these activities to fit your classroom needs and watch as your students bond and grow together through the exciting world of science.




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