Having groups comprised only of friends can be challenging for instructors in the classroom.  It can create discipline problems, as well as limit the students’ overall instructional experience.  One alternative is to assign students to groups on a random basis- here is a method to easily and entertainingly assign students into groups of two, an approach that can also enhance the learning experience.

Objective: Divide students into groups on a randomized basis

Items needed: One (1) deck of regular playing cards


  • Match the playing cards with the same color and number.  For example, select two red aces, two black kings, two red tens until all cards are paired up.
  • Select enough cards so that each student receives a card. Put remaining cards away.
  • For example, if you have 32 students, you will need 16 pairs of cards with the same color and number.
  • If you have an odd number of students, one group would end up having three students.
  • Shuffle the cards well; remind the students that this will establish the teams for the day’s group exercises.


  • Have each student select only one card.
  • Once each student has a card, ask the students to “find their pair”.
  • Allow the paired students to introduce themselves to each other.
  • Within three minutes:
    • Have the students in each group share something unique about themselves. 
    • Work together to solve a question such as: “What items should you carry in your vehicle in the winter time?”
  • Then move on to the other planned group activities.


This will allow the students to become familiar with each other while accomplishing a relatively easy assignment as a team.

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