Setting Up Small Groups

These strategies can be used to break a large group of participants into smaller groups.

Deck of cards

  • Distribute one playing card to each participant. You can also designate a participant to randomly hand out cards as peers enter the classroom. For large workshops, use more than one deck of cards.
  • Ask participants to form groups by:
    • Suit (e.g., clubs or hearts) for large groups
    • Card type (e.g. two or four of a kind) for small groups
    • Run (e.g., ace-2-3 or 9-10-Jack-Queen-King) for various size groups

Count off

  • Count participants off from 1 to 10 until each participant has been assigned a number.
  • Ask participants to get together by grouping all participants assigned #1, then all participants assigned #2, etc.

Birth month

  • If uniform group size is not required, have participants group themselves according to their birth month.

For virtual workshops: Breakout rooms 

  • Assign participants to breakout rooms at random

  • Allow participants to self-select breakout room; use birth month, date of birth, favorite season, etc. to have participants group themselves by joining the corresponding breakout room 


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