Use this exercise for the first week of class, especially if you have a group of students who don’t know each other very well. The point of the game is to get students to not just talk to each other, but go beyond surface connections. They have to think together to come up with commonalities within the time limit.
1. Get your students moving around the room. Tell them to move swiftly but with purpose – be aware of their surroundings and focus on not bumping into each other. Tell them also not to chit chat with their friends. Head up, walk with purpose, walk with focus.
2. Explain to students they are to find someone in the room that they don’t know very well. That person is going to be their partner. Before you begin this exercise, I would suggest you pay attention to who students walk into the room with and who they’re chatting to. You want students to choose someone new.
3. Explain to students that they have three minutes to find three things in common with their partner. They are not allowed to use “known” things. For example, it is known that they are in the same drama class. It would be a known thing if they both have brown hair or are wearing the same colour shirt. It would not be a known thing that they both have two dogs or that their families go camping every summer, or that they can curl their tongue. Students will have to question each other quickly and think together to find possible common ground.
4. At the end of the three minutes, get students to walk around the room again with purpose and focus. At your signal, they choose a new partner and search for three things in common.
5. After a few rounds, gather students in a circle. Each student has to share one thing they found they have in common with another student.