A big challenge students face when starting high school is feeling comfortable around new students. Some may have come from large schools, while others may have come from small schools. Some students may have been friends since they were toddlers, while others might not know anyone at the school. By using engaging ice-breaker activities, students will form connections and feel comfortable with their new peers.

Year level



20 minutes


In class activity

SEL Competencies


Social awareness

Relationship skills

Learning intention

Students will use ice-breaker activities to get to know their peers.

Key outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • follow instructions

  • feel connected to peers by learning new facts about them.

Materials needed

  • Large space

Mapped to

Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities

  • Personal and Social Capability:

    • Self-awareness

    • Self-management

    • Social awareness

  • Critical and Creative Thinking

  • Reflecting

  • Inquiring

Show details

Activity 1

Ordering: Get to know you

10 minutes

  1. Gather students in an open space.

  2. Explain to students that they will be lining up in particular orders or organising themselves into groups, based on a topic.

  3. Read out a statement and give students a limited timeframe to organise themselves.

  4. Variation: ask students to arrange themselves without talking.

Example topics:

  • Line up in alphabetical order by your first names.

  • Line up in alphabetical order by your last names.

  • Line up in order of your birthdays, from 1 January to 31 December.

  • Line up in height order.

  • Line up in order of distance from school to home.

  • Line up in order of how many languages you speak.

  • Gather with people who have the same eye colour as you.

  • Gather with people who get to school in the same way as you (car, bus, on foot).

Activity 2

Group bonding: Concentric circles

10 minutes

  1. Arrange students into two circles: an inside and an outside circle. The inside circle should face out and the outside face in, so students form pairs.

  2. Invite the pairs to discuss their answer to a supplied get-to-know-you question.

  3. Rotate students, with the outside circle moving clockwise and the inside circle standing still.

  4. The new pairs discuss a new question.

Sample questions:

  • What are your interests outside of school?

  • What is your favourite subject? Why?

  • Do you play any sports? If so, which ones?

  • What is your favourite book or TV show? Why?

  • Do you consider yourself shy or outgoing? Why?

  • What was the last movie you saw? Did you like it?

  • Describe your favourite food.


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