Unlike trigonometry, brainstorming is one of those skills that is taught in school . It really comes in handy in adult life. Still, teaching brainstorming and trying to get students excited for group think sessions, whether virtual or in class, are never easy tasks.
These Fun 10 Brainstorming Activities for Students are sure to change your mind about groupthink.
- 1 Individual brainstorming activities for students
- 2 Group brainstorming activities for students
Individual brainstorming activities for students
These 5 classroom brainstorming activities are suitable for individual brainstorming. Each student in the class submits her ideas before the entire class discusses all the submitted ideas together.
💡 Don’t forget to check out our quick guide and example questions for brainstorming at school !
#1: Desert Storm
Don’t worry, you won’t send anyone to war in the Gulf with this student brainstorming activity.
Chances are you’ve done an exercise like Desert Storm before. It involves giving students a scenario , such as “If you were stuck on a desert island, what 3 items would you like to have with you?” and let them come up with creative solutions and explain their reasoning.
Once everyone has their 3 items, write them down and give all students a vote on their favorite batch of items.
Tip 💡 Keep questions as open-ended as possible so you don’t pigeonhole students into answering a certain way. The desert island question is great because it gives students the freedom to think creatively. Some students may want items to help them escape the island, while others may want some home comforts to make a new life for themselves there.
#2: Storm of Creative Use
Speaking of thinking creatively, this is one of the most creative brainstorming activities for students as it involves democratic thinking outside the box.
Introduce your students to an everyday object (a ruler, a bottle of water, a lamp). Then give them 5 minutes to write down as many creative uses for that object as possible.
Ideas can range from the traditional to the absolutely wild, but the goal of the activity is to lean more into the wacky side and encourage students to be completely free with their ideas.
Once the ideas come out, give everyone 5 votes to vote for the most creative usage ideas.
Tip 💡 It’s best to give students an item that serves only one traditional use, such as a face mask or flower pot. The more restrictive the function of the object, the more creative the ideas will be.
#3: Packet Storm
This brainstorming activity for students is based on the popular children’s party game, Go to the Plot .
Start with all the students sitting in a circle. Announce the brainstorming topic and give everyone some time to write down some ideas.
Once the time is up, play music and have all students continuously pass their paper around the circle. Once the music stops, students have a few minutes to read the document they just finished and add their own additions and criticisms to the ideas in front of them.
When they’re done, repeat the process. After a few rounds, each idea should have a large number of additions and criticisms, at which point you can return the document to the original owner.
Tip 💡 Encourage your students to focus more on additions than critiques. Additions are inherently more positive than criticisms and much more likely to lead to great ideas.
#4: Shit Storm
Apologies for the rude title, but it was too big an opportunity to pass up.
Shitstorm is a fairly well-known brainstorming activity that you’ve probably experienced before. The goal of this one is to write down as many bad ideas as possible in a strict time limit.
#5: Reverse Storm
The concept of working backwards from a result has solved quite a few big questions in human history. Maybe I can do the same thing in your brainstorming class?
This one starts by giving students a target, flipping it to target the opposite target, then flipping it Back to figure out the solutions. Let’s take an example…
Let’s say Mike has to give a lot of presentations for his company. His presentations are incredibly boring, and usually half the audience scrolls through their phones after the first few slides. So the question here is “How can Mike make his presentations more engaging?” .
Before you answer that, turn it around and work towards the opposite goal: ‘How can Mike make his presentations more boring?’
Students brainstorm answers to this reverse question, perhaps with answers like ‘make the presentation a total monologue’ and ‘take everyone’s phones away’.
From there, you can reverse the solutions, ending up with great ideas like ‘make the presentation interactive’ and ‘let everyone use their phones to interact with the slides’ .
Congratulations, your students have just invented AhaSlides !
Tip 💡 It can be easy to get a little off topic with this brainstorming activity for students. Make sure you don’t ban “bad” ideas, just ban irrelevant ones. Read more about reverse storm activity .
Looking for ideas to brainstorm?
Use the ‘School Brainstorming’ template on AhaSlides. Free use, commitment guaranteed!
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Group brainstorming activities for students
Here are 5 brainstorming activities for students to complete in groups. Groups can vary based on your class size, but it’s best to keep them to a maximum of 7 students if possible.
# 6: Conecta Storm
If I asked you what ice cream cones and spirit level gauges have in common, you’d probably be stumped for a few seconds before coming to your senses and calling the police.
Well, these kinds of seemingly unrelated things are the focus of Connect Storm. Begin by dividing the class into teams and create two columns of random objects or concepts. Then arbitrarily assign each team two objects or concepts, one from each column.
The teams’ jobs are to note as many connections as possible between those two objects or concepts within a time limit.
This one is great in a language class for students to brainstorm vocabulary they might not otherwise use. As always, ideas are encouraged to be as creative as possible.
Tip ???? Keep this brainstorming activity of students passing each team’s task to another team. The new team must add ideas to those already raised by the previous team.
#7: Rated Group Storm
One of the ways that brainstorming activities for students are often stifled is fear of judgment . Students don’t want to be seen offering ideas that are dismissed as “stupid” for fear of ridicule from their classmates and low grades from the teacher.
The best way to avoid this is with a Nominal Group Storm. Basically, this allows students to submit their own ideas and vote on other ideas. completely anonymous .
A great way to do this is through brainstorming software that offers anonymous submission and voting. Alternatively, in a live class setting, you can simply have all students submit their ideas by writing them on a piece of paper and placing them in a hat. You take all the ideas out of the hat, write them on the board and give each idea a number.
After that, the students vote for their favorite idea by writing the number and placing it in the hat. Count the votes for each idea and write them on the board.
Tip ???? Anonymity can really do wonders for creativity in the classroom. Try it with other activities like live word cloud or live quiz for students to get the most out of your class.
#8: Celebrity Storm
For many, this is one of the most engaging and fun brainstorming activities for students.
Begin by putting students into small groups and presenting all groups with the same topic. Next, assign a celebrity to each group and tell the group to offer insights from that celebrity’s perspective .
Let’s say, for example, that the topic is ‘How do we attract more visitors to the nautical history museum? He would then ask a group, ‘How would Gwenyth Paltrow respond to this?’ and another group: ‘How would Barack Obama respond to this?’
#9: Tower Storm
Too often, when brainstorming in the classroom (as well as at work), students tend to hang on to the first ideas that were mentioned and ignore the ideas that come after. A great way to negate this is through Tower Storm, a brainstorming game for students that puts all ideas on an equal footing.
Start by separating your class into groups of about 5-6 participants. Announce the brainstorming topic to everyone, then ask all but 2 students per group to leave the room.
Those 2 students per group discuss the problem and propose some initial ideas. After 5 minutes, invite 1 more student per group to the room to add their own ideas and build on those suggested by the first 2 students in their group.
Repeat this process until all students are invited back into the room and each group has built a “tower” of well thought-out ideas. After that, you can have a debate among your students to discuss each one in depth.
Tip ???? Tell the students waiting outside the room to brainstorm their ideas. That way, they can write them down immediately after entering the room and spend most of their time building on the ideas presented to them.
#10: Synonym Storm
Here is a great brainstorming activity for students that you may want to use in English class.
Put students into groups and give each group the same long sentence. In the sentence, underline the words for which you would like your students to provide synonyms. It would look like this…
The farmer was horrified to find that the rats had been sharing their crops all night, and had left a pile of food scraps in the garden in front of the housework .
Give each group 5 minutes to brainstorm as many synonyms as they can think of for the underlined words. At the end of 5 minutes, count how many synonyms each team has in total, then ask them to read their funniest sentence to the class.
Write all the synonyms on the board to see which groups got the same synonyms.