Human Bingo Questions Update: Oct 24, 2021
- Use these free Human Bingo Questions if you’re working with a new group of students OR
- Use this lesson to help students with Communication and Social Emotional Learning.
- The PDF now includes a “Welcome Back to IN-PERSON learning” human bingo version. Talk about the lockdown and break the ice as students re-learn how to learn after the pandemic…
Back to School Human Bingo
Back to IN-PERSON Learning
24 questions to get students talking.
24 more questions to help students talk about their Covid lockdown experience.
FREE Back to School ice-breaker activity to help students get to know their classmates.
You can use this handout with:
- students at the start of the school year
- or, after you return to IN-PERSON learning after a Covid lockdown.
There are 3 versions in the zipped file:
- Regular human bingo (with generic timeless questions),
- Welcome Back to IN-PERSON Learning version with questions about how their Covid-19 lock-down experience was, and a
- BLANK human bingo template.
Things to know:
- All files can be edited to mix, match or change questions. (Google Docs™ / Microsoft Word™ files included.)
- Or, just print the NO PREP JUST PRINT version (FILE 0).
- Here are some ideas on how to use Human Bingo as a communication lesson.
⭐ IMPORTANT STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH NOTE:
We can’t underestimate the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health of our students.
- Family members may have lost jobs, loved ones, or security and stability.
- Our students may be part of homes where problems were made worse by the pandemic.
- Students may have had a tough time dealing with change.
- Covid-19 might be a highly controversial topic in some homes with multiple points of view.
As classroom teachers, we often don’t know so much about what our students are struggling with. School might be a safe place for our students in a way that we can’t truly appreciate.
So, while it’s important to acknowledge and provide an opportunity for students to discuss how they are doing (in the same way we ask what our students did during the holiday break), it’s equally important to provide a safe space for the invisible students who might be struggling.
If you are including questions from the Welcome Back to IN-PERSON Learning version, please consider the following:
- Giving your students the “right to pass.” They can just say “pass” and not answer any question for whatever reason. No questions asked.
- Checking in with your school administration / teacher union / student mental health supports regarding guidelines around discussions about the pandemic
- Looking at the human bingo questions to make sure they are appropriate for your classroom and teaching style.
The questions in the WELCOME BACK to IN-PERSON LEARNING try to focus on:
- positive elements (i.e. Find someone who learned how to do a new skill)
- common experiences (i.e. Find someone who lost their mask)
- some challenging experiences in a light-hearted way (i.e. Someone who watched a lot of streaming media)
Remember, you can edit the files for your specific needs!
Here are some other resources you might enjoy:
- Help students respect other students’ points of view using debate ()
- Remind students how to learn ()
- Teach students how to set goals and achieve them ()
What is Human Bingo, Icebreaker Bingo or “Get to Know You” Bingo?
Human Bingo is a “get to know you” ice breaker activity to get a new group of people talking.
A series of 24 or 25 questions on a Bingo Card format gives people an excuse to talk to each other in a safe “game” atmosphere. (The center square is often reserved for the person’s own name.)
Participants need to find a person who has done the questions written on the bingo card.
Human Bingo goes by a lot of names including
- ice breaker bingo,
- “get to know you” bingo,
- “find someone who” bingo
… you get the idea.
Possible Get to know you Bingo questions
Typical ice breaker bingo questions include things like:
- Find someone who has 2 siblings.
- Find a person who can sing (and enjoys singing.)
- FInd someone who has a pet.
- Find someone who can speak another language
Some questions might need to be adapted for Covid (depending on where you live). For example,
- Find a person who has recently travelled outside of the city.
- Find someone who learned a new skill during lock down
- Find a person who spent way too much time on the internet during Covid
Other Get to Know You Bingo questions can be a little silly to spark creative conversations. (Psst, here’s a lesson plan to help develop creativity.)
- Find someone who can look at themselves in the mirror with their eyes closed.
- Find someone who can hiccup backwards.
- Find someone who can clap with one hand.
How to Play Get to Know You Icebreaker Bingo
Once you find someone who has done the question in a bingo square, you ask the other person their name and record it in the box.
PRO TIP: If you ask the other person to write their name down, you don’t have to worry about spelling it incorrectly. (This may not be possible with physical distancing rules during Covid.)
Bingo is yelled out when someone finds 5 people who can complete a line, column, or diagonal on the human bingo handout.
Since the point of the game is to get new people to know each other, most teachers and workshop facilitators will have the group continue until the entire bingo card is filled. (Blackout bingo).
Depending on time constraints, the teacher or the workshop leader may have people take up some of the human bingo questions. It’s a great way to find out new things about people in your class or group.
- Human Bingo and Icebreaker bingo are often done by teachers during Back to School activities.
- It can also be done at the beginning of teacher professional development or business corporate training.
This “find someone who” ice breaker bingo activity is good for both teachers and for corporate training.
Whether you’re looking for a quick Human Bingo for Students PDF or Human Bingo questions for work, this post is for you!
- You can modify the human bingo cards handout to fit your situation or just print the no-prep PDF.
- There are no graphics on this handout, so this ice breaker bingo works in a grade 4 classroom or a high school classroom.
- (This human bingo icebreaker activity also works in a workplace, but you might want to get rid of the name and class lines at the top of the handout. Actually, on second thought, keep it in. It’s funnier that way.)
Lots of teachers, principals, and even corporate managers have used a human bingo graphic organizer as an icebreaker and a quick way to get new groups of people interacting with each other.
- Each square on the bingo card has a different question.
- Students write their name in the free space in the middle of the board.
- Then, they go around the classroom introducing themselves and they try to find someone who has done one of the questions in the boxes.
The basic idea is to meet your classmates and learn something about them.
For example, find someone who likes to sing. Find someone who can dance. Find someone who stayed at home this summer vacation. Find someone who left the city this summer vacation
You get the idea. The fantastic thing about this lesson is that you can modify it for any grade.
But the Human Bingo Get-to-know-you icebreaker can be more than simply an icebreaker to use at the start of the school year.
You can also use it as a verbal communication mini lesson.
FREE Back to School Activity: Human Bingo (Communication Mini-Lesson) TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Use Human Bingo for Students (PDF) during Back to School Activities 2021
- Oral communication is more than just public speaking.
- Communication is a process
- Before you begin the Human Bingo Back to School icebreaker…
- How to play Human Bingo (as a communication mini-lesson)
- Rules of Human Bingo Back-to-School icebreaker (as a communication mini-lesson)
- Communication Strategies to help you play Human Bingo
- Download the Free Human Bingo Activity (zipped file)
Use Human Bingo for Students (PDF) during Back to School Activities 2021
Covid-19 really changed what Back to School activities looked like in 2020.
And, again, Back to School 2021 will look different from last year.
These Human Bingo Cards are still a great activity for the first days of school.
Whether you’re talking through a mask and keeping 2 meters (6 feet) apart, or your school is allowed to get “back to normal”, you can use this activity as a starting point for conversations about what this school year will look like.
- Explain to students we’re going to use these Human Bingo questions as a way to get to know our classmates.
- But, really, this is a mini lesson in communication. Yes, we want to meet each other, but let’s also take some time to think about how to make small talk.
- After the human bingo activity, it’s a great moment to talk about how communication might look different this year.
- What was the hardest part about communicating last year? (i.e. during distance learning, lock-downs and covid physical distancing?)
- Was there any part of communication that was easier last year? (maybe asynchronous learning meant your students had more flexibility to choose their schedules. Maybe digital conferencing meant students could listen in class without having to worry about other students looking at them or distracting them…)
- What was the hardest part about changing the way we learn? Was anything easy about change?
Then, this is a great time to set a tone for the school year. It’s an opportunity to focus on perseverance, practice staying in a GROWTH MINDSET and work on life skills as we make our way through the curriculum.
We need to get ready to handle the uncertain challenges of a COVID school year or a non-COVID school year. Because one thing is certain in life.
Oral communication is more than just public speaking.
Being able to make small talk with new people is an important skill for us to have:
- whether we’re chatting with potential business clients,
- making small talk with the person interviewing us for a job, or
- just chitchatting with people at the holiday party.
Or, in kid-speak:
- chatting with new people in your class,
- chatting with friends of your friends that you just met, or
- chatting with other people in the group that your teacher assigns to you.
Or, in teacher-example:
- chatting with other teachers before the staff meeting begins,
- chatting with parents before the parent-teacher interview starts,
- chatting with your new principal to get to know them.
You get the idea…
Communication is an important part of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
Everyone can communicate.
Not everyone can communicate well.
And helping students to recognize we can use strategies to get our message across more effectively is key to surviving and thriving in a changing world.
- We need to be able to communicate effectively with friends, loved-ones, and co-workers
- Resolving conflicts is tough. Especially when both sides feel strongly about the issue!
- Standing up for the rights of others requires us to hear a message, understand what is going on, and decide how to communicate to help make the world a better place
- Communication can be tough. But, recognizing how the communication process works can help us recognize what we can do to make sure our message gets across.
- Having a growth mindset and recognizing we can choose certain communication strategies to get our message across (even in something as simple as a Human Bingo icebreaker).
- It can be frustrating when the other person doesn’t understand us. (Or when we don’t understand what the other person is trying to tell us.) Understanding that something might be a simple communication error can help us link feelings, thoughts, and actions.
- Understanding the perspectives and emphasizing with others doesn’t come easily to everyone. But, it’s something we can work on.
- Reflecting on our communication strategies can help us recognize that sometimes the way we communicate in one situation may not be appropriate in others. (Eye contact doesn’t mean the same thing in all cultures.)
This Human Bingo activity is a great way to start off a conversation about communication.
But, it’s just an ice-breaker.
If you want a full unit with lessons, activities, discussion points, and handouts, check out the 12 lessons in this 6Cs Communication unit!
Communication is a process.
We can use strategies to communicate more effectively in this process…
The sender can send a message, but it’s also important for the receiver to give feedback that shows they’re paying attention. You can watch the YouTube video or just check out the image below.
Some of us love small talk and some of us hate it. Either way, we can all use strategies to get better at it.
Even though Back to School icebreakers can be fun ways for your students to get to know each other, it can also be your first opportunity to build a growth mindset and collaborative classroom!
Before you begin the Human Bingo Back to School icebreaker…
Brainstorm some strategies with your students to communicate more effectively.
Back to School 2020 means teaching students how to communicate differently while keeping physical distance?
- Do we try to speak quieter so the class environment doesn’t get too loud? But, then it’s hard to hear the other person through a mask.
- Do we try to speak louder, but move to a different spot so we don’t disturb everybody? But, our classrooms are small enough as they are.
- Do we just don’t do any activities which involve group work? But, we need to learn how to communicate and work in groups because we’re going to be communicating in groups for our whole lives – whether it’s on the yard with friends (or frenemies) or at a job with co-workers and our boss. Group work is essential in today’s modern world.
- Do we use our devices to chat with each other? Even if we’re 2 feet apart?
- Do write notes on whiteboards and hold them up?
- Now is the time to think about how do we communicate in small groups? Let’s start by trying to figure out how to adapt these human bingo cards to our Covid-modified classrooms…
- The goal of playing Human Bingo is to meet people, but also to be friendly and to create a friendly class space.
- This is an opportunity for us to explore the communication process and to try to communicate effectively (which in this case means being friendly!)
Teacher Tip: You know your class and grade best. Modify the following suggestions to meet your needs!
Teacher prompt: When we’re chatting with someone…
- What can we do to make the other person feel comfortable in chatting with us?
- What are some things that we can do to show the other person that we’re listening?
- What are some strategies we can try to be friendly?
- What are some strategies we can use to make people like us?
Sometimes when we’re brainstorming ideas, one strategy to try is to ask the opposite question to generate ideas. And then whatever you come up with, do the opposite.
So for example,
- What can we do in a conversation to make the other person not like us or feel uncomfortable?
- What would our body language look like if we don’t care about what the person is saying?
- What would our voice sound like if we were bored in the conversation?
How to play Human Bingo (as a communication mini-lesson)
Ice breaker bingo can be more than just an icebreaker. It can be a way to teach communication strategies.
Explicitly teach students a script to use when they’re going up to someone, even if they already know the person. Even if they’ve been besties since kindergarten.
- Person A: Hi my name is Mike, what’s your name?
- Person B: Hi Mike, my name is Hoda. It’s nice to meet you.
- Person A [asks a question from the bingo sheet]: Did you travel outside of the country this summer?
- Person B [answers the question, and then gets to ask a question from their bingo sheet]: No, we had a staycation and stayed around here. Can you play a musical instrument?
- Person A: Yes!
- Person B: Awesome! Can you sign your name here?
Rules for Back to School / Corporate Training Ice Breaker Bingo
It’s amazing how well these rules work whether you’re in the classroom or leading a workshop for adults.
- You can’t simply go up to someone and give them your bingo card. Don’t just say, hey, sign something. (and then shove our human bingo cards in their face.) The point is to have small talk. (This is especially true in a Back to School COVID world – we can’t just swap handouts and pencils anymore.)
- You can’t simply sign something if you haven’t done it because we’re going to take it up at the end of class. So if you say that you can recite the alphabet backwards, just make sure that you can. (Pro tip: if the alphabet is written on the board somewhere, it makes it easier to recite the alphabet backwards…)
- Spelling counts, especially when it’s somebody’s name. When you find somebody who has done one of the questions on your bingo card, you can just ask them how to spell their name, or ask them to sign their name in the box.
- You have to introduce yourself. Even if you already know the person’s name. The point is just to practice small talk.
- When you finish and get blackout – which means that you have a name for every card, then you say bingo… and then help other people finish their bingo cards. You’re not allowed to tell people the answers (whose name goes with which questions), but you could give them hints like, oh you should speak to Becky.
Depending on the number of students in your class, you’ll have to make a rule about whether or not you can use the same person’s name more than once.
After a certain amount of time, you might want to just end the game.
Depending on how much time you have, you may want to take up some of these answers. It might be neat to see who in the class can roll their tongue, or recite the alphabet backwards.
Communication Strategies to help you play Human Bingo
Here are a few verbal and non-verbal communication strategies you might ask your students to try and different stages of the ice breaker bingo game.
Talking explicitly about strategies helps students to realize people aren’t born gifted communicators. It’s a skill.
- Strong communicators like communicating.
- So, they do it more.
- So, they have more opportunities to get better at communicating.
- So, they make mistakes, but also have more chances to learn from their mistakes…
- And then they get better at communicating.
- Lather, rinse, repeat.
Communication Strategy: Mirror the other person
Most of us naturally do this, but one strategy to try to put the other person at ease is to mirror their body language. So for example…
- if they’re sitting down, then you sit down.
- If they are leaning on a table, you lean on a table.
- If they are leaning in with their body, you can also lean in.
Of course, try to do this naturally.
Communication Strategy: Keep an open body posture.
Closing your arms can make you seem cold or unapproachable or grumpy.
Communication Strategy: Smile.
Seem friendly. Be friendly.
Communication Strategy: Nod your head.
Nodding your head is a simple way for the listener to show that they’re listening.
(Or, to explain it in terms of the communication process, it’s a way for the receiver of the message to give feedback to the sender that they got the message!)
Communication Strategy: Paraphrase the other person
When you repeat back what you heard, it lets the sender of the message know that you understood. (Or, what you understood, so they can fix their message if there was any misunderstanding.)
“Oh, you had a staycation and stayed at home? How was that?”
Communication Strategy: Use the person’s name in the conversation.
Some of us are fantastic at remembering people’s names.
I’m not one of those people.
So one strategy I use is I try to use the other person’s name in conversation.
- It could be when we are ending the conversation: “Okay, see you later Mike!”
- It could be when I’m asking a question: “Oh, that’s interesting Mike, what do raw slugs taste like?”
Communication Strategy: be aware of people’s personal space.
Different people are comfortable in different ways.
Everyone has a personal bubble around them and if you get too close or inside of that personal bubble, it can make people feel uncomfortable. And that’s the opposite of trying to create a friendly comfortable space.
Be aware that different cultures might have larger or smaller personal bubbles than what you are used to.
If you use the mirroring strategy, then chances are, if they’re backing up from you, then you might make them more at ease if you back up a little as well. Maybe you’re too close and in their personal space…
Communication Strategy: Keep the conversation going with follow-up questions
It can be hard to meet people, so when you find something that they have done on your human bingo cards, ask a follow-up question or two. (Especially as they’re signing your human bingo card!)
Sometimes awkward silences are, well, awkward. So, if you ask questions, it helps to fill in the silence.
Communication Strategy: Make eye contact.
In North American culture, we usually consider eye contact as a sign of respect and as a way to provide feedback that shows the other person that you’re listening.
But be aware, that in other cultures, eye contact might be seen as a sign of disrespect. Something to think about.
Download the Human Bingo ice breaker activity
Click here to download a zipped file that contains the human bingo cards.
The human bingo template comes in three formats:
- a Word Document (.DOCx) to modify
- a Google Docs version to modify and
- a NO PREP, JUST PRINT PDF version
NOTE: If you are going to use the Word Document, you may need to install the comic book font (BANGERS) that we use in our documents. Instructions and the free font are included in the zipped file!