• Allison Felten

5 Brain Breaks Secondary Students Will Do!

Brain breaks are activities that allow students to relax their minds, move their bodies, and reset. I know it can feel like you can't give up a single second of teaching time when you are a week behind and testing is coming up. We've all been there! But, giving students a chance to release their stress is important for their mental well-being and can improve their focus.

One of the biggest problems with brain breaks is that when you search for them you often get silly dance videos aimed at 6-year-olds or goofy games that would embarrass any socially conscious high schooler. This post will give five great options that can be used in secondary classrooms and modified to work for you.

1. Consensus

The teacher will give the students a question. The students’ goal is to come to a consensus (an answer everyone agrees on). The teacher will set a timer of 3-5 minutes, and by the end, they have to agree on an answer.

This can be done with the whole class but it is usually easier to break the students into groups and select a speaker who will tell the class what their group’s consensus was.

Example Consensus Questions:

  • What class option should be offered at our school that we don’t currently have?

  • What are three things you would take with you in a zombie apocalypse?

  • Is a hotdog a sandwich? (Things will get heated with this one)

2. Find it Fast!

The teacher will give a characteristic of an object. The student will have 10 seconds to find an object that matches the description around the classroom. A few suggestions to make this less chaotic is to make sure students walk and only have one person per item.

Examples of Find it Fast characteristics:

  • Pink

  • Round

  • Wood

  • Animal (picture on a book, poster, stuffed animal, etc.)

  • Flat

  • Yellow

  • Vocabulary Word (Found in notes or on word walls)

3. Never-Ending Word

The teacher will give the students a topic and the students’ goal is to say as many words that match the topic. The catch is that the last letter of the word has to be the first letter of the next word.

This is usually easier and the kids have more fun if you break the class into smaller groups (5-10 students). You can also make a rule where a student can’t say more than one word in a row so the more talkative kids don’t take over.

4. Would You Rather

Would You Rather is a classic game that students thoroughly enjoy. Give the students two options and make them pick between them. To make this game even more engaging assign a side of the room for each option and have the kids move to the side that matches their choice.

Example Would You Rather Questions:

  • Would you rather travel 200 years in the past or 200 years in the future?

  • Would you rather control the weather or talk to animals?

  • Would you rather be the most famous person in the world or discover a cure for cancer?

5. Flower

Flower is a fun game but can get out of hand very fast if you don’t have strong classroom management. The teacher will call out a number and the student will get into a group to make a “flower” by standing in a circle with that many people. It is very important for the teacher to go over expectations with students like walk when you move, using talking voices, no pushing/shoving/pulling, and the teacher’s word is final!

This game can be played in two ways. The first is where you slowly eliminate students until there are 2 left and they are the winners. The second is to have the students who are eliminated join back in after 1 or 2 rounds of sitting out so the gameplay is ongoing.


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