Community building activities, Introductory activities, Setting the tone activities

Fast Friends

Maha Bali

Maha Bali

This is a great warming-up activity that helps to build close connections between students.



This activity is inspired by Renee Hobbs, Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Rhode Island, USA. It is a great warm-up activity that helps to build close connections between students.


This activity can be used at the beginning of the semester or to start off a class, to help students get to know each other more deeply than the usual intro questions we ask. Participants choose which question(s) to answer in small groups, and can go several rounds with the same or different partner(s).


You can use the existing list of questions or select from them your favourite 5 or 6 for each round.


Break students up into pairs or small groups and invite each of them to respond to one of the prompts below, you can also select from a full list of prompts.   

  • Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? 
  • Would you like to be famous? In what way? 
  • If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be? 
  • If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want? 
  • What would constitute a “perfect” day for you? 
  • Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible. 


About 8 or 10 minutes for a pair in one round, or 12-15 minutes in a trio.


You can do this in pairs or trios, you can do it synchronously with breakout rooms, asynchronously on a discussion board or, something like Slack or MS Team text. You can do one round or multiple rounds in one session, or you can do a different set of questions each class meeting.


Breakout rooms if synchronous. Ability to create groups on a discussion forum if using a Learning Management System or Virtual Learning Environment.



  • Educator prep: Minimal
  • Student prep: None
  • Breakout rooms, Shared online space
  • Duration: 5-30 mins

This activity is one of a series of activities from Equity Unbound, focused on equitable online community building. 

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Maha Bali is undertaking research to discover how educators are using these open resources from Equity Unbound/OneHE. Click the button to find out more and to participate.