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Active Starter


This is a variation of something I am sure many of us have done.

It is great for “waking up” a quiet class! Also great for hitting “observation” criteria………. establishes previous knowledge and thus provides a starting point for making progress; engages and motivates all pupils (this is not a starter in which some pupils just sit and watch).

It only takes a minute or two.

It can also be adapted as a plenary to show progress!

Pupils love doing it and often ask for this activity.


  • Prepare about 12/15 statements to which the pupils can respond TRUE or FALSE.

  • Ensure that the statements start easy and gradually get harder- make the last one or two real testers!!

  • Make sure that the statements relate to work done in the previous few lessons (adapt this to suit your own “starter” purpose – I have even done it with Sixth formers to check if they have done their homework reading!)

  • Have a couple of “tie break” questions kept aside

At the start of the lesson – brief the class (obviously you won’t need to do this after the first time)


  • Whole class stands up

  • Read out each statement in order

  • They must respond each time by either putting their hands on their head if the statement is true or their hands on their bottoms if the answer is false (demonstrate this yourself in the briefing– making a real show of the actions – the sillier the better! I always stand on a chair at the front for this whole activity – in order to be able to see them all REALLY clearly - I am very short!- but also to make a bit of a “performance” of the activity .Clearly you can adapt these “performance” details to suit yourself – but do make sure it is FUN !

  • They must react INSTANTLY! (You must keep the activity moving with real pace.)

  • If they are wrong/hesitate/change their mind/look at others to see what they are doing/cheat, they must sit down – this is why you must be able to watch them ALL very carefully!

  • The first few statements should be fairly easy and most will stay standing – you can speed up as you progress – especially if no one is getting it wrong.

  • Make a real issue of the hesitations, changing their mind half way through the action……… this is where the fun comes in!

  • The last person standing gets the reward!

  • If you have exhausted all your questions and you are left with two or three standing bring them to the front and make them stand back to back (not too close to each other) and with eyes closed. This is where the tie breakers come in. You could do it by elimination again or just make the quickest person the winner (especially if you are down to the last statement).


  • I often have TWO sets of statements ready – if pupils sit down early on in the first game they really want to have another go to see if they can do better.

  • YOU must be really energetic and dominant – quickly squash any “that’s not fair” or “she cheated” remarks by making it clear that you – and only you – are the referee!

  • It MUST be fast and fun!

Do you have any tips to share? We would love to hear them!

Please send them to and we could be posting your tips!

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