Objective: Brainstorm ideas; create groups around shared interests

# of participants: 10 to unlimited

Space: Classroom

Estimated time: Minimum 30 minutes. If you actually form groups then 45 minutes.


Give out 2, 4×6 sticky notes to each student. Have them write down 1 idea per sticky note. Make sure they use markers and write clearly and large enough to read from a distance. When they are done have them put the sticky notes on a big empty wall/whiteboard/window. Tell everyone to do a “gallery walk” where they must read all of the ideas on the sticky notes. When they are done reading have them step back from the wall/whiteboard/window. Then invite the members of your class to organize the sticky notes by shared ideas. Make sure each group of sticky notes has its own space distinct from other groups. When they are done, go to each group of sticky notes and ask what your students want to call that group. Take a clean sticky note and put it above the group of ideas with that name. Do the same for each group of sticky notes. When you are done, ask the students to go to the category (name of group) that most interests them (not necessarily where their sticky notes are). Ask the students in each group to introduce themselves and to talk to each other about why they are interested in this idea. Have the students write down their full names in each group. You can also have them go to a second idea and go through the same process. You could form the groups right there on the spot. You could also take the lists of names and use them to create groups that you feel would be the most successful. You can assure the students that they will get one of their first 2 choices. If there are many students under one heading, you can create two groups and have them work on different aspects of the idea.