Simple Starters # 9 – Sort it!

This activity promotes recall, but also encourages pupils to see links between information, and to justify opinions.  Therefore it can be a good stimulus for debate.  It could be an individual, paired or group activity.

Give out packs of cards containing key information on them, then ask the pupils to sort the cards into piles.  They could, for example, be given cards bearing the flags of different European countries.


These cards could be sorted on a factual basis.  For example:

  • Size
  • Population
  • Natural resources
  • Wealth

They could also be sorted into:

  • Countries I know a lot about
  • Countries I’ve heard of but don’t know much about
  • Countries I’ve never heard of

Or they could be:

  • Countries I really hope to visit one day
  • Countries I might visit
  • Countries I’d rather not visit

You get the idea!

One last suggestion: give no specific directions – just tell the pupils to sort the cards as they see fit, and then discuss the thinking behind the approach they chose.  This can provide some really interesting insights into the way the pupils have responded to certain topics.

Simple Starters # 4 – Recipe

This simple starter encourages pupils to reflect on key knowledge and to think about the links between different ideas. Display several words and ask the pupils to identify the topic they all relate to. This could serve as a simple recap, or could be used as a springboard for further exploration.

starter - recipe