Five Icebreakers for the Science Classroom

Getting to know you activities for grade 4, 5, 6 and 7 classrooms

Going back to school and getting into a classroom routine can be hard for both teachers and students. The first days of school are usually filled with some nervous anxiety as students get to know one another and teachers get to know their students. Icebreakers can help to relieve some of this anxiety. Icebreakers are activities that allow people to quickly get to know one another to allow them to feel more comfortable. Here are five ideas that you can use in your science classroom to start off the school year:


 Ask students to tap into their artistic side by using playdoh to sculpt something that is meaningful to them. Give students time to think about what they want to sculpt, remind them that it’s OK if they aren’t artistic just do your best, and then allow them to create. Make sure to leave time for all students to be able to tell one another what they created and why it is meaningful to them.

Hands on activity to get to know your upper elementary and middle school students.

This activity is great for students of all ages. My seventh graders LOVE when I break out the playdoh for an activity. In my classroom, I have the small containers that come in a multipack. They last for several years as long as they are always placed back in the container and the lid is closed tightly.

Video Autobiography! 

    With remote learning and social distancing most likely some part of our teaching world, creating a video autobiography is one way that students can learn more about you and the class can learn more about the student. Increasing social emotional health is one area teachers will need to think about improving upon in the new school year.  Using platforms like FlipGrid allows students to quickly tell about themselves and can easily be shown in the classroom. 

using a video autobiography to get to know your students as an icebreaker during the back to school season in grades 4 5 6

STEM activities: 

Students can work together in small groups to meet and beat a challenge. Sometimes activities like this can be better for classes where students do not really know one another. It can lessen anxiety on the students as they only have to work with a few students instead of being front and center of the entire classroom. The Center for Developing Excellence has a compilation of tons of activities that can be found by clicking here.

Using STEM to foster relationships with your grade 4, 5, 6, and 7 kids.

So you hate group icebreakers yourself? Here are two ideas that will allow you to better get to know your students without the stress of group activities.

Three Things I Want My Teacher to Know: 

Sadly, our students come from all backgrounds of life. Even students who appear to be happy on the outside can be facing tough personal challenges. This free worksheet gives students a chance to tell you three things about themselves. Some students may tell you superficial things about themselves while others may give you surprising information that will allow you to be a better teacher and role model for them.

Three Things I Want My Teacher to Know

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    Elements of Me

    Help your science students feel comfortable by getting to know more about their personal lives through authentic science materials.

    I love this activity because it authentically combines a science topic, the periodic table of elements, with a getting to know you activity. Students will use the template to divulge personal information about themselves while creating their own “element”. This also provides students with background information that will help them when they start learning about the periodic table to understand that each part represents something specific.

    I hope these ideas help you brainstorm how you want to start off the school year. Let me know below which one you choose to do or if you have another activity that you like to use.

    Other Back to School Tips and Ideas


    Implementing Classroom Jobs in Upper Elementary and Middle School

    what jobs to use and assign in upper elementary and middle school to promote responsibility

    Back to school season is a time for teachers to set up rules and procedures for the upcoming school year. Teachers want to work smarter, not harder. In order to do that, why not continue to give your students classroom jobs?

    Primary and elementary teachers give out classroom jobs to their students. Not only does this help to them run an efficient and productive classroom, but it also allows students to build on their personal skills of responsibility and dependability.

    It is possible to continue to have classroom jobs even with students changing classes. You can decide if you only want your homeroom to take care of the classroom or have jobs each class period. Think about the structure of your day and what would work best for you.

    Choosing the best student for the job can be done randomly, as it often is in elementary school or you could have students fill out a short application form. This would tie in real life skills as when students want to apply for a job that they want later on in life, they will need this skill. Applications do not need to long or lengthy by any means. Students can fill out basic personal information and then give a reason why they think they are fit to complete the job. Always keep in mind that these jobs are meant to make your life easier!

    Some classroom jobs that are perfect for upper elementary and middle schoolers are:

    •         Supply table supervisor make sure all supplies are in order and ready to go
    •         Technology assistant this is a big one. I always have students that neglect to plug in their Chromebook and then it leaves it dead for the next student. Assigning a student(s) to take care of this task leaves you to worry about more important things, like if the technology actually working. 😊
    •         Agenda administrator writes down the date, class and homework assignments on the board
    •         Paper personal assistant collect and distribute worksheets and assignments
    •         Receptionist Answers the classroom phone. This will also teach students proper manners when answering and taking a phone message.
    •         Veterinarian feeds and cares for a classroom pet
    •         Waste manager cleans up all the trash at the end of a lesson or activity
    •         Sanitation supervisor cleans the tables or desks with disinfecting wipes
    Ways to still give students classroom jobs in grades 5, 6, 7

    Do you use classroom jobs in the upper grades? I would love to hear how you implement them in your classroom. Tell me in the comments below!

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      Building Personal Relationships with Your Students on the First Day of School

      Every back to school season, I rack my brain of different ideas to get to know my students. In the past, I have done activities like The Best Part of Me and Three Things I Want My Teacher to Know. However, midyear I unexpectedly came up with a truly unique method to easily get to know my students in a fun way.

            While reading the novel, War with Grandpa, as a pre-reading activity, I had my students describe, explain, and draw a map of their bedroom. I wanted to know whether they shared their room with anyone, what their room was made up of, what they liked, and disliked about it. This activity was engaging and simple which is perfect for the first days of school. Class time was given to complete it and students were provided the template worksheet, markers, crayons, and colored pencils. 
      Easy ways to get to know your students on the first day of school

      The benefit of using this lesson to get to know your students at the beginning of the year is because the information held in their drawings and their writing allowed me to gauge their levels of independence, living conditions, and provided an insight into their home life. I now knew who still slept with their parents, who was living in a one-bedroom apartment as a family of five, or who had all the amenities that any 10-year-old kid could want. This allowed me to become more empathetic to the needs of my students allowing me to do my job as a teacher a little bit better. 

      Using art and writing to quickly get to know your students personally at back to school season

      Digital Back to School Activity to Promote Social - Emotional Learning

      Looking to go digital this year? To plan for the unexpected, I developed this back to school social - emotional activity that can be completed in class or in a distance learning classroom. In classrooms that are remote learning, it is even more important to build relationships with your students and foster a classroom community. This getting to know you activity will allow that that happen. Click to get a closer look

      back to school digital SEL activity for the distance learning classroom

      Click through to find more Back-to-School activities and freebies to help build

      relationships from the first day of school!

      Get to Know Your Students with the 4 C's of Engineering // Kerry Tracy

      5 back to school activities to build relationships with your students

      Download my bedroom template NOW!

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