Icebreaker Questions and Ideas

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Since UWS courses are based primarily on discussion and participation, it’s essential that students become comfortable speaking to their peers early on. In order to break the ice and build a sense of lively, good-humored community, we suggest trying some of these activities and icebreaker questions in the classroom – perhaps even at the start of every class.

Icebreaker Questions

Rapid-Fire “Would you rather…?”

  • Have hair for teeth OR teeth for hair?
  • Fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?
  • Use sandpaper for toilet paper OR vinegar for eye drops?
  • Have no knees OR no elbows?
  • Have hiccups for the rest of your life OR feel like you need to sneeze and not be able to forever?
  • Have the ability to read minds but be illiterate OR just have the ability to read?
  • Be on a desert island with a very attractive person; they are top-half fish OR bottom-half fish?
  • Have a bell go off every time you found someone attractive OR feel a sharp pain in your side every time someone said your name?
  • Be a dragon OR have a dragon?
  • Be really hairy all over your body and not be able to shave OR not have one hair anywhere?
  • Be rich and ugly OR poor and good looking?
  • Always have to say everything on your mind OR never speak again?
  • Be able to turn invisible OR be able to fly?
  • Be three feet shorter OR three feet taller?
  • Lick a smelly armpit OR chew on a rotten toenail?

Courtesy of Bofang Li

Other “Would you rather…?”

  • Go back in time or visit the future?
  • Be able to teleport or fly?
  • Drink coffee or tea?
  • Watch TV or read a book?
  • Have a pet lion, pet elephant, or pet whale?
  • Medal in the Olympics or win a Nobel Prize?
  • Have an appetizer or dessert?
  • Wake up early or stay up late?
  • Have a dog or a cat?
  • Live somewhere it’s always hot or somewhere it’s always cold?
  • Live in the mountains or on the beach?
  • Live under the sea or on the moon?
  • Meet your descendants or your ancestors?
  • Be reincarnated as a cat or a dog?

Adapted from Carly Hill, “The #1 List of Icebreakers,”


  • Pull out your phone. What’s your most used emoji?
  • You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
  • What’s your go-to karaoke anthem?
  • What superpower would you most want?
  • What dog breed would you be?
  • Do you prefer big dogs or small dogs?
  • What’s your favorite holiday?
  • What season would you be?
  • What vegetable would you want to be?

Adapted from Carly Hill, “The #1 List of Icebreakers,”

  • If you could be any animal (real of fictional) other than human, what would it be? (Courtesy of Lisa Rourke)
  • If you could travel to any country, what would it be? Why? (Courtesy of Elissa Jacobs)

Other Icebreaker Ideas

  • Two Truths and a Lie – see this blog post for tips on how to play
  • Eye Spy – using the students’ backgrounds to find things
  • Show and Tell – students share something in their homes/dorms such as a pet, special object, etc.
  • Bingo game – find one online or make your own on a theme like writing, college, or the topic of the UWS course)