Killer ice-breakers: The super-quick speed dating mixer…

You probably know the idea of speed dating... A person talks to another person for 5 minutes and then moves on to the next person. Why not use this in class to share ideas? What you need…

  • A clock/watch and something to make noise with
  • You can provide questions if you want, but it’s not necessary (adults don’t have any trouble making conversation on their own)
  • Enough people so they can mingle (good for large classes)

How to…

  1. Ask learners to stand up, find partners and chat for 2 minutes with each other about anything interesting.
  2. When 2 minutes are up, give your sound signal, loud enough for everyone to hear.
  3. When they hear your signal, everyone finds a new partner and chat for the next 2 minutes.


  • If your class isn’t huge, allow everyone to have 2 minutes with every other person.
  • If you use this at the start of a course, combine it with introductions. After finishing, ask each person to give their name and share something they learned from someone else.
  • You can use this for test preparation. Prepare cards with a test question written on each. Distribute to students. While mixing, students quiz each other with their questions, and then move on when time’s up.

Your part… How would you adapt this? Are there any age groups you’d use this with specifically? How would you set up the activity differently?  

Average: 4.4 (5 votes)


davidvincent's picture

Great idea for getting lots of speaking. I'd definitely keep the timing short and quick paced so that people don't get bored and things stay sharp. Doing a follow-up where people discuss what they talked about would also be beneficial.

nahla_shaw's picture

Dear Yearinthelifeof,   I love the activity because it allows students to move around the classroom, but I would certainly give them specific questions to answer such as:Find someone who speaks another language. (Get more information about the person)Find someone who has 2 sisters and 2 brothers. Thanks for the activity,Nahla

Yearinthelifeof's picture

Thanks, nahla_shaw. If you're with a new class who don't yet feel that comfortable with each other, I'd say that you're definitely right in providing a few questions. This tactic would probably also help if you want this mingling activity lead in to a sepcific topic for a lesson.

Yearinthelifeof's picture

I'd agree, davidvincent. Keeping the timing short and snappy are key to making this activity fun and motivating.

dxplorer's picture

I really like this activity - I've used it with 14 and 15-year-olds. :) The last tip, with giving them cards and prompts - it's really good. Some of the groups tend to get lost if you give them too much freedom - they need to have at least a starting point - it gets the stronger students imagination running and it helps the weaker ones feel more comfortable about the task.

Yearinthelifeof's picture

I think you're right, dxplorer. I guess you should look at your class, assess the situation and give card prompts to the extent you think is necessary. Good ideas, everyone. Thanks.

Yearinthelifeof's picture

I agree, lemanulas. This simple activity offers so much speaking practice and people get to go over similar conversations so they can really develop their techniques.