Diversity Activities and Ice-Breakers

A few activities to liven up your classroom instruction.



To diffuse negativity within a group when faced with challenging changes.


Using a flip chart, list the changes that the group is going through. Facilitate a discussion on:

Break the learners into small groups and ask them to select a symbol. After their discussions, reassemble them into a large group and have them select a symbol.

Repeat as needed throughout the training event.

Connect The Dots


To demonstrate that we often limit our perspective and choices.


Pass out a copy of DOTS. Ask the learners to complete the directions given at the bottom of the drawing.

Give them about 5 minutes to work on the puzzle. At the end of the time period, ask if anyone has found the solution:


Group Membership


To create a supportive environment in which the learners can disclose their group memberships and to allow them to experience what it is like to be part of a minority group.


Have the learners form a large circle. As you call out different group names, the members are to go inside of each successive circle as they identify with the group.

Begin with "low-risk" groups (e.g. brown hair, large family, group of professions you are working with, such as a manager or production associate and then work up to groups that are typically discriminated against or under-represented (e.g. African American, Asian, female, gay, person with disabilities). Applause as each group forms in the middle

As each group of learners move towards the center of the circle, ask them what they think is the most positive thing about being a member of this group.


I Want You To Know


To share the experiences of various ethnical, gender, religious, and cultural groups and listen to one another.


Decide the ethnic categories to be used based on the demographics of the learners by asking the group which ethnic groups they feel comfortable using. If there is only one member of a certain group, ask if she or he feels comfortable or if she or he whishes to join another group.

Divide the group by ethnic categories and give each a sheet of flip chart paper.

Give them about ten minutes to write down their answers for the following questions:

When all groups have completed their lists, reassemble them into one group and have them discuss their answers. When each group has explained their list, ask questions to clarify, not to challenge as the list represents realities for the group.


Getting To Know You


To learn about each other.


Divide the learners into small groups. Provide each group a large sheet of flip chart paper and markers. Have them to draw a large flower with a center and an equal number of petals to the number of learners in their group. Through discussion with their group members, have them find their similarities and differences. They should fill in the center of the flower with something they all have in common.

Each member should then fill in his or her petal with something about them that is unique — unlike any other member in their group. Students should be instructed that they cannot use physical attributes such as hair color, weight etc. This encourages them to have more meaningful discussions with their group members).

They should be encouraged to be creative in their ideas and drawings.

After the small group activity, have them share with the large group, about similarities and differences.

The Herman Grid


To discover that first impressions of people are not always true.


Pass out copies of the Herman Grid to each learner. Ask them to share their impressions and if they see gray dots at the white intersections. Are the Gray spots really there? This is an example of how we sometimes see things that are not really there.


Ask participants to share and discuss their examples in the large group or in small groups.

Who I Am


This activity allows the learners to share their cultural roots and to learn about each other.

Materials Needed


After the activity, if the table tents get in the way, then post them on the wall.

Continuous Activity

Throughout the training event, ask the learners to add something new to their table tent. Note that as there is more trust built between the learners, more information will be revealed.

Another Version

Have the learners complete the table tents as described above, except do NOT have them write their names on the paper. When they are finished, collect them, and then hang them on the wall. Have the learners read each table tent and then try to identify the person it belongs to.


Next Steps

This activity is based on the chapter, Diversity

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