Fun, engaging and original ideas for starter activities to help busy teachers with effective lesson planning. Our editorial team, all experienced teachers, share their favourite, tried and trusted starters.

by Teachit's editorial team
17th August 2020

  1. Object identification. Bring in objects relating to the lesson content. Can students predict the topic/content/learning outcomes? 

  2. Agree/disagree. Give students statements relating to prior learning, the topic you are studying or a contentious/relevant issue in your subject. Create a human continuum – students should decide where to stand on a line of agreement.

  3. Pick a question, any question! Ask students to write down any questions they have on the topic/area you’re studying. Put these into a hat and pick some out. See if the students can answer them first, and then you answer if they can’t!

  4. Pictionary or blind draw. Students could draw key words for each other to guess. Alternatively, one student should describe a key word, process or concept for another student to try to draw.

  5. If this is the answer, what is the question? Give students the answers only, and they have to work out the questions.

  6. Ranking. Rank statements, images, quotes, etc. in order of importance. Use a diamond 9 template to help.

  7. Picture reveal. Just like Catchphrase, slowly reveal an interesting image related to today’s lesson and ask students to guess what it is/ask questions about it.

  8. Knowledge relay. Place a page of information about today’s learning at the front of the class. Split your class into small groups. Each student in the group has 30 seconds to get to the front and recall as much as possible before returning to their team and trying to recreate what they’ve seen/read.

  9. Balloon or shipwrecked raft debate. Choose five ‘people’ from today’s news, public life, popular culture or history, and/or figures who are relevant to your current topic. Ask students which person they would not throw out of a sinking hot air balloon or push off a shipwrecked raft, etc. and why.

  10. Corners activity. Put four different topic images/phrases/viewpoints in the corners of the classroom, and then ask students to go to the corner they relate to most. They could then discuss with others in that corner why they agree with each other. Or you could put one person from each corner together to make groups of four to discuss why they have differing views.

Download all 20 engaging ideas for starters below: 

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