The Great Silence Breaker Silly Challenge: Can my Students Talk about a Simple Object for 2 Minutes?

Fun, quick and an opportunity to challenge your students.

As a teacher, and especially at the beginning of the course, I often find myself in situations where I’d love to hear my students talk for just two short minutes on a given topic. But, I ask a thought-provoking question and some students seem to be unable to come up with more than two sentences.  Now, I’m not asking for a Shakespearean soliloquy or a TED Talk-worthy speech, I am just asking to answer a juicy question with more than a simple couple of sentences.

And so, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. It’s time to launch the “Great Silence Breaker Challenge.” This challenge is straightforward yet entertaining. My students have been issued the following decree: talk non-stop for about two minutes on a simple, everyday object. Sounds easy, right?

The beauty of this exercise is that it pushes my students to be creative, think on their feet, resourceful, and yes, a little bit absurd. The idea behind this silly speaking task is that after asking them to talk about a simple spoon, pencil box …etc for about 120 seconds, they will realize how easier it is to answer a question such as” Do you think cars should be banned in the city centre?” which is “slightly” more thought-provoking.

So, here’s the activity.

  •  Put the students into pairs (student A and student B).
  • Ask a representative of Student As to choose a box.
  • Display a timer and ask all Student As to talk about whatever the box contains for 2 minutes. If they manage to talk non-stop without awkward silences, they will get a point.
  • Repeat procedure with Student Bs.

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