5 Fun Ways to Use Zoom Breakout Rooms to Liven up your Online Class

*Disclaimer – Anything mentioned is purely my opinion and products that I enjoy using and that have helped me and might possibly help other teachers.
Like many others, I’ve been using Zoom since Covid-19 changed everything. I use Zoom in conjunction with Nearpod for synchronous teaching and learning. These are a few ways that I’ve used Zoom’s Breakout Rooms to liven up my lesson. If you are using Zoom and haven’t tried the Zoom Breakout Rooms, you should give it a go. 

Ways to use Zoom Breakout Rooms

First, it must be enabled in the Zoom settings before you can use it in a lesson. Usually about half way through a lesson I set up the Breakout Rooms. It’s a great way to change-up the lesson. It’s usually the point where students lose focus so it’s a great way to bring them back, add a bit of excitement and variety. The idea, at least for me, is to get the students moving away from their computer (or tablet) screen. For bigger classes, the Breakout rooms are great for putting students into groups (I can decide what the groups will be manually or it can be done randomly). For smaller classes I would enable Breakout rooms individually and set a task for them with a time limit.

  1. Use the Five Senses

I used the five senses over 5 lessons. Each lesson I taught about one of the senses and then had the students find things in their house, or wherever they were, that related to that sense.


Breakout Room page on a Nearpod slide

I tried to create tasks where the students would have to physically get up and move around to find objects. This was a great activity that provided funny results when they showed the objects that they found.

2. Find things in common

This was great for big or small classes to get into groups and have to interact. It was especially good for shy ESL students to get into groups and have to speak with a partner. In order to make sure that they were following the rule of speaking English, and not their native language, I would visit each group sporatically.


Breakout room slide on Nearpod for finding things in common

This is a great activity that can be applied to pretty much any topic that you are teaching. I was teaching sports here but it works well with animals, food, toys or whatever topic is being taught.

3. Play “What do I have?”

Playing “What do I have?” is a great game with Zoom. It’s fun to play as the teacher or it’s fun to get your students to do it. In this game I would choose an object, hide it from the camera and have students guess what it is, giving clues sparingly. I decided to try this game in the Breakout rooms with the students having to find something that they had in common, hide it from the screen, and the other students would try to guess what it was.


Breakout room slide for Nearpod for game “What do I have?”

4. Using Breakout Rooms for the grammar that you are teaching

In this particular lesson I was teaching about when to use ‘very’ and when to use ‘really’. So I created scenarios where the students had to find something that was ‘very + adjective’ or ‘really + verb’. This was a fun way to re-enforce what I had previously taught.


Breakout room slide for teaching ‘very’ and ‘really’.

5. Using Breakout Rooms to teach about Solids, Liquids and Gases.

This was a fun activity to see if students understood the concept of solids, liquids and gases. It produced some funny and surprising results.


Breakout room slide to teach about Solid, Liquid and Gas

I hope you find some of these activities useful

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