#Bird Box Challenge: Bringing Popular Culture to Icebreakers!

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By Ellen Ensher, Ph.D.


This semester I decided the icebreakers I was accustomed to using on the first day of school were boring and bleh. After watching the movie, Bird Box, I felt inspired when I gazed upon the zillions of scarves hanging in my closet. I decided to bring the scarves into the classroom and ask my students to create an icebreaker inspired by the movie Bird Box.

My students came up with four great ideas. One of these involved gathering the class in a group circle and placing getting to know you questions at the center of the circle. The first thing you have students do is look at where the questions are and get a spatial sense of where they are. Afterwards, say: “Birdbox challenge begins! Invite everyone to move around the room with their blindfolds on to pick up a question.

Watching students walk around the classroom with blindfolds on can be funny to observe, but as the instructor you want to make sure everyone is safe and that no on trips. While students wander around the room, I guide them with my voice or gently put my hand on theirs to direct them.

Once everybody has a question and they are back in the circle, then you randomly pick someone to take off their blindfold and introduce him or herself. The chosen student answers the getting-to-know-you question such as: “What are your favorite top three music genres?” When the participant finishes answering the question, he/she puts the blindfold back on. I let each student know it is their time to talk by gently tapping on their hand. Keep going and make sure everyone gets a chance to talk.

At the end of the icebreaker, everyone removes the blindfolds. Lead a discussion about the experience of removing one’s sense of vision.  Also, discuss how the exercise pushed people out of their comfort zone. Given that it was a Learning and Development class, I also asked, “How could the exercise have been improved?” I later used the exercise in a couple of other classes and made some modifications. Everybody seemed to enjoy it and it was a fun way to link a popular culture craze with an icebreaker. Using unique icebreakers like this one can be a great way for students or employees to get to know one another. For more information on training, check out my course Training Employees.