Two-Minute Talks

Purpose: To activate prior knowledge and focus student learning on the topic about to be addressed.

Description: During Two Minute Talks, students will share with a partner by brainstorming everything they already know (prior knowledge) about a skill, topic, or concept.  In doing so, they are establishing a foundation of knowledge in preparation for learning new information about the skill, topic, or concept.


1.  Group students into pairs.

2.     Inform students that they will each be talking about topic X for two minutes.  They will need to select which student will begin first.  An easy way to do this is to say something like: "Find out whose birthday comes first in a calendar year."  Then tell students that, "That person gets to go second!"

3.     Using a stop watch or other timing device, tell students to begin talking.

4.     At two minutes, instruct students to switch.  At this point, the other partner begins talking.  It is okay for the second person to repeat some of the things the first person said.  However, they are encouraged to try and think of new information to share.

5.     Have a few groups share some of their responses with the entire class when the activity is done.

Sample Two Minute Topics:

What are the benefits of using the internet?

What would happen to schools if all the computers disappeared overnight?

Name as many topics for databases that you can think of.

How would you use a PowerPoint slideshow to convince your parents to increase your allowance?

Name all of the things you can do in a word processing program.

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