Class Activity: Motivation Icebreaker

Document created by Bethany Gordon Employee on Nov 18, 2016
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To get the conversation started about motivation, tell students that you are going to ask some questions and you want them to be completely honest. Start by saying, “If I asked you to write a two-page essay about your goals for college, but told you that it was completely optional and that you wouldn’t get any points for it, and you wouldn’t be penalized if you didn’t do it, how many of you would write the essay?” Count the number of students that raised their hand and write the number on the board or overhead, then ask, “What if I told you that you’d get five points extra credit on one test for writing the essay?” Count the raised hands again, record the number, then ask, “What if I told you it was mandatory and that if you didn’t do it, it would bring your grade down?” Count the hands again and write the number down. Use the results to talk to students about the difference between intrinsic motivation (referring to the people that would write the essay without any type of punishment or reward) and extrinsic motivation (referring to the people that would only write the essay if there were consequences involved). From this conversation, you can segue into the topics of attitude and mindset by linking positive attitudes and growth mindsets to intrinsic motivation.

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