Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Roundabout Conversations

K20 Center, Shayna Pond, Shayna Pond | Published: September 22nd, 2020 by K20 Center


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Roundabout Conversations

By using questions to stimulate conversations, this kinesthetic, cooperative learning strategy facilitates short conversations between students and involves all students in the activity.

Roundabout Conversations


Students reflect on and answer a question, then get on their feet to participate in a pairing activity that slightly resembles musical chairs. Once they've found their partner, students introduce themselves and discuss their responses to the question. This helps a new class get to know one another and takes the stress out of pairing up for students who have difficulties finding a partner.


  1. Present a question to the whole class.

  2. While they are in their seats, give students 10–30 seconds to reflect on the question and write a response.

  3. Divide the class in half. One half forms an inside circle (almost shoulder to shoulder), facing right; the other half forms an outside circle, facing left.

  4. As music plays, students walk in a circle in the direction they are facing.

  5. Stop the music. Students turn toward the closest student in the other circle, shake hands with their new partner, and if needed, introduce themselves.

  6. Move to the center of the inner circle to monitor and evaluate the conversations taking place between student pairs.

  7. Students share their responses to the question. Allow 2–5 minutes.

  8. When time is up, follow steps 1–5 again with another question. This can be repeated as many times as the lesson requires.

Barr, L., & Harrington, C. (Eds.). (1991). Energize!: Energizers and other great cooperative activities for all ages. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books. | Kagan, S. (1989). The structural approach to cooperative learning. Educational Leadership, 47(4), 12-15.