Having a solid start to a lesson is vital to ensure the students are engaged and ready to learn. In this series of blog posts I will be listing a huge range of starter activities for use in the classroom to aid your teaching. Let me know your favourites in the comments below.
#21 Picture the last lesson
Using only pictures, students must visually show what they learnt last lesson. Novelty aids memorisation so creativity should be encouraged. Students could then show there work and the class has to deceiver what the students had previously learnt.
#22 What is this?
Show students an object or artefact it could be something they are familiar with or something they have never seen before. Students should come up with questions about the item such as ‘What was it used for?’ or ‘how does it relate to this topic?’ Students can then work in pairs to speculate on the answers to there questions. By the end of the lesson students should be able to answer their own questions.
Cards with key words are created by the teacher in advance and divided between students. Pupils compete to get rid of their cards, matching associated words. Pupils have to be able to read, understand and interpret a range of technical terms or vocabulary to be able to make associations. This is better suited for higher ability students or towards the end of a topic.
#24 Caption Competition
Put a picture on the board (The crazier the better) and have students try and come up with a funny caption based on the picture. This works really well with post-it notes by getting students to stick their entries on the board at the front of the room.
#25 Pass the Parcel
A simple twist on a classic game. Even older students will have fun with it. Make a pass the parcel package but rather than or in addition to treats add questions they must answer.
#26 Question Catch
Throw a bean bag when asking questions. This makes questioning more kinaesthetic and can engage pupils who don’t normally volunteer to answer. You can give the pupil the option of throwing the ball to someone else if they don’t know the answer. It can also be played in teams. The teacher throws the bean bag to each team in turn. If the person who catches it can answer the question, they score 3 points for their team. If they can’t, they throw it to another team to score 2 points, if they can’t it is thrown again for 1 point.
#27 Question Envelopes
Write 2-3 questions (related to the lesson) on envelopes. Do multiple copies of each so that each student will have one to work on. Distribute, so that each student has one. Give 2 minutes per envelope: student records name and answer on a post-it note; students pass envelope on after 2 minutes until all 2-3 questions are answered by all. Collect in and read some responses (anonymously); class responds to accuracy of answer.
#28 Question Box
At the front of your classroom put question box where students drop questions at the end of a lesson. These are then addressed at the start of the next lesson.
If the topic allows for 2 different views allow students to debate at the start of the lesson. Pick two students to stand up and give them a side to debate on. After they have made a couple of good points, get two new students to stand up. I have used this successfully with topics about nuclear energy and STEM cell research amongst others.