You may have heard of 8-minute dating, where 100 people meet for an evening full of 8-minute dates. They talk to one person for 8 minutes and then move on to the next person. Eight minutes is a long time in the classroom, so we’ll call this ice breaker a 2-minute mixer.
A 2-Minute Mixer is also a great way to prep for a test.
This is a great mixer for large groups, especially if you don't require that everyone talks to everyone.
Introductions in the classroom or at a meeting, especially when you have space enough to move around.
30 minutes or more, depending on the size of the group.
A clock or watch and a whistle or some other noise maker. You can also provide canned questions if you want, but it’s not necessary. Adults don’t have any trouble making conversation on their own.
Ask people to get up, pair up, and chat for 2 minutes with each other about whatever interests them. You’ll be the timer. When 2 minutes are up, you’ll blow your whistle or make some other sound loud enough for everyone to hear. When they hear your signal, everyone is to find a new partner and chat for the next 2 minutes.
If you have flexibility, allow enough time for everyone to have 2 minutes with every other person.
If using this at the beginning of a course or meeting, combine it with introductions. After the mixer, ask each person to give his or her name, and share something interesting they learned from someone else during the mixer.
For Test Prep
To use for test prep, prepare note cards with a test question written on each card. Distribute to students. While mixing, students ask each other their questions, and then move on when time is up.
One of the benefits of this exercise is that research shows studying in various locations helps students remember better. Chances are good that students will remember who they discussed a question with during the 2-Minute Mixer and recall the correct answer during the test.
This mixer doesn’t require debriefing unless you hear surprising anecdotes that relate to your topic.
The Ice Breaker Forum