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Talking Chips (classroom)

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Facilitating Talking Chips active learning activities in a classroom.

Time and Effort

Instructor Prep TimeLow
Student Activity TimeLow
Instructor Response TimeLow
Complexity of ActivityLow


Talking Chips have students participate in a group discussion, surrendering a token each time they speak. The purpose of this activity is to ensure equitable participation within groups by regulating how often each group member is allowed to speak.


Use it when you want...

  • To emphasize the importance of full and even participation within a group,
  • To help students discuss controversial issues, to encourage quiet students to participate, or
  • To solve communication and process problems, such as dominating or clashing group members.

What students will need

  • Some kind of token or object like poker chips or paperclips.


The following workflow is meant as guidance for how you can facilitate a Talking Chips learning activity within a classroom.


  • Determine a question or problem for group discussion.
  • Identify the kind of tokens to be used in the activity.


  • Form student groups. 
  • Give each student four or five tokens that will serve as permission to share, contribute, or debate in the conversation.
  • Ask students to participate equally in the group discussion, specifying that as they contribute comments, they will get an X placed next to their name by the scorekeeper.
  • When all students have contributed to the discussion and everyone has five Xs next to their name, the activity is done.


  • Review the outcomes of the activity.

Accessibility and Room Considerations

Technical Documentation


Barkley, Elizabeth F. et al. Collaborative Learning Techniques: A Handbook For College Faculty. Wiley, 2014. pp. 170-174.

See Also:

Keywords:talking chips, discussions, active learning   Doc ID:104154
Owner:Timmo D.Group:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
Created:2020-07-20 10:15 CSTUpdated:2021-08-20 13:05 CST
Sites:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
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