Thoughts, writing & snippets

Marguerite Koole, PhD

Identity Accelerator #12: The Balloon Exercise

mkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching


This activity was originally conceptualized as a face-to-face, whiteboard activity: The Magic Balloon.

The basic idea is that there are two groups of students in the class. One must protect the balloon; the other will try to pop the balloon.



Preparation and instructor responsibilities

  1. The instructor draws a balloon on the whiteboard screen.
  2. The instructor divides the participants into two groups
    • Group 1 – protect the balloon
    • Group 2 – pop the balloon
  3. Group 2 goes first and must draw something on screen that they can use to pop the balloon (for example, a pin).
  4. Group 1 responds by drawing something to prevent the pin from popping the balloon.
  5. The groups take turns.
  6. After 5 minutes or so, end the activity. (Set a time limit at the beginning.)
  7. Debrief: review the methods of each group. If possible connect the exercise to notions of creativity, problem solving, thinking outside the box, or something related to the class.



I tried this at the beginning of an instructional design class. The students enjoyed the activity; it was a fun way to start the class. I was able to connect it to the notion of creativity and problem solving in the context of instructional design. For other course topics, connecting the activity might be challenging.


3.5/5 stars

Note: for an introduction to identity accelerators for online teaching and learning visit this entry

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