Digital ice breakers

Digital ice breakers

It can be difficult to feel connected to other people when using online meetings to engage remotely. Digital ice breakers can help participants to get to know each other in a fun way, are are also useful for practicing using interactive features.

You can also adapt the ice breakers that are used in face-to-face situations.

IB Find An Object

Find an object

Ask participants to select an object that is currently near them (on their desk or in the room), that means something to them. You may wish to give this a time limit such as a 60-second countdown clock. Then ask each participant to introduce themselves and talk about their object.

Random fact

Ask a participant to introduce themselves, where they are from and ask them to share a random fact about themselves, such as:

  • what was your first pet's name?
  • can you remember your first phone number?
  • favourite cheese, and so on

The participant then has to nominate someone they don’t know to go next and come up with a random fact question for the next person to share. The nominations continue until everyone has taken a turn.

IB Random Fact
IB Would You Rather

Would you rather..?

Before your meeting create a list of questions starting with "Would you rather..?" that only have 2 answers. For example, would you rather have a sweet snack like chocolate or a savoury snack like crisps? You can make these questions as relaxed or related to your topic as you like.

Ask participants to have their camera on and answer the questions by raising one finger if choosing answer 1 and raising two fingers if choosing answer 2.

Where in the world is..?

On a video conferencing platform such as MS Teams or Zoom, participants' videos are shown in a grid structure - but the layout is usually displayed in a different order for each attendee. As the facilitator demonstrate with yourself first and ask participants to point upwards, down, left or right depending on where your video is on their screen. Then ask where one of the other  participants is for everyone and for that participant to wave or say hello. Ask that participant to nominate the next person and so on.

IB Where In The World
IB Name 5

Can you name 5?

Before your meeting think of some easy categories, such as colours, sweets, types of weather, things you might bring to the beach and so on. At the meeting ask each participant to introduce themselves and then ask them to name 5 things in a particular category in 5 seconds.

Digital bingo

Before your meeting create a list of questions that have a "yes" or "no" answer, such as:

  • did you eat Cornflakes for breakfast?
  • did you bake banana bread during the first lockdown?
  • do you own a pet?

Ask each participants to turn off their camera to start with, and only turn it on if they answer "yes" to a question. Everyone turns their camera off again before the next question. Try to pick a final question that you feel will generate a "yes" answer from most participants in order to end with as many cameras on as possible.

IB Digital Bingo
IB Complex Definitions

Complex definitions

Read out an overly complex explanation for a common task such as baking a cake, and provide 3 options for what the correct answer could be. Participants vote for their chosen answer using any of the interactive features on the platform, including:

  • posting 1, 2 or 3 in the chat box
  • raising a hand
  • using different reactions, such as "clap" for 1, "heart" for 2 and "thumbs up" for 3
  • completing a poll

You can make these definitions as relaxed or related to your topic as you like. The point of this game is to show how language can be used as a barrier to understanding.

Definition 1

Applying power allows the motor to start spinning the fan, which in turn draws air through inlets. A safety screen prevents other objects from entering the inner workings. The air is then pushed through the barrel after being heated. A coiled wire on an insulating board is the main mechanic for heating air. The wire is a material which is a poor conductor of electricity, so when current is passed through it becomes hot rather than conducting the energy. The coil is resistant to oxidisation at high temperatures.

  • A hairdryer (correct)
  • An electric fan
  • A fan oven

Definition 2

The two ends must be different lengths.  The wide end must hang down much longer than the narrow end. Lay the wide end over the narrow end. Bring the wide end up through the gap between the layover and the neck. Take the wide end to the right behind the layover, then forwards and up, then down into the gap between the layover and neck. Take the wide end round the front of the layover, up close to the neck, and down through the loop just formed. Hold the narrow end and tighten.

  • Making a paper airplane
  • Tying a full Windsor knot (correct)
  • Making a balloon animal

Definition 3

An initial burst of effervescence occurs when contact is made with a dry surface. These bubbles form on imperfections in the surface that facilitate nucleation or, to a lesser extent, on cellulose fibres left over from the wiping/drying process. However, after the initial rush, these naturally occurring imperfections are typically too small to consistently act as nucleation points as the surface tension of the liquid smooths out these minute irregularities. The nucleation sites that act as a source for the ongoing effervescence are not natural imperfections in the container, but actually occur where there has been etching by the manufacturer or the customer. This etching is typically done with acid, a laser, or an etching tool from a craft shop to provide nucleation sites for continuous bubble formation.

  • Eating popping candy
  • Using a SodaStream
  • Pouring a glass of champagne (correct)

Definition 4

Angular momentum is conserved and that conservation takes the form of both a quantity and a direction. In order for the matter to change position angular momentum must change from vertical to horizontal, but the horizontal matter will violate angular momentum principles. However, the torque creates a greater and greater component of angular momentum pointing horizontally, and the friction decreases the vertical component of this same momentum. Once the angular momentum vector (which points along the axis of rotation) is horizontal, the direction of the angular momentum is changed.

  • A spinning top falling over (correct)
  • Flying an aeroplane
  • Sailing

Definition 5

Firstly we must assume that the surface is weightless and of known stiffness and damping characteristics. The quality of the rotation around the centre of gravity will depend on the efficiency with which segmentation is performed. The most effective movement is achieved when total angular momentum relative to the centre of gravity remains constant and the velocity of rotation is regulated. During the second phase, the only external forces on the system are the gravity forces. However in the first and third phases interaction from the surface must be added, this interaction is dependent primarily on the vertical deflection.

  • Skydiving
  • Jumping on a trampoline (correct)
  • Bungee jumping

Definition 6

Initially use an emulsifier to assist components to combine. In the presence of regulated heat, molecular bonds will be broken and re-formed with available molecules in close proximity; this forms a network forming the basis of the structure. Addition of 2NaHCO3 is advised to allow the reaction of 2NaHCO3 = Na2CO3 + H2O + CO2 to take place.  The by-products of the reaction will allow the structure to expand. Ideally an acid should also be added (H+); this will result in a more stable end product but be aware that the addition of H+ allows greater expansion.

  • Mixing cement
  • Applying a spray tan
  • Making a cake (correct)

Chat box gifs

Features within the chat box may be different depending on the video conferencing platform you are using. However, most platforms allow you to post emojis or animated gifs. Ask participants some simple questions and get them to post a gif or emoji that best represents their answer. Questions that work well include:

  • how are you feeling about this session?
  • what is the weather like where you are?
  • how was your weekend?
IB Chat Box Gifs

Illustrations based on icons from Freepik

Last Updated: 24 September 2021